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Dutch Animator Gerrit Van Dijk Dies at Age 73

Haarlem-based animator Gerrit van Dijk passed away on December 4 at the age of 73.

Animation World Network would like to thank HAFF director Gerben Schermer for providing this information on Gerrit van Dijk to the AWN community.

THE NETHERLANDS -- Haarlem-based filmmaker Gerrit van Dijk passed away on December 4 at the age of 73. He had been ill for a considerable time, but until his final day he kept working on his film The Last Picture Show, once more proving how deeply dedicated he was to his work.

Van Dijk, born May 12, 1938, trained at the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming en Architectuur in Tilburg, quickly revealed himself as an autonomous fine artist with a deeply felt commitment with the world. From 1971, animated film was the medium he felt he could convey his artistic message in. In a relatively short time span, he developed into an artist with guts, whose sparkling ideas were an inspiration to many, not only in the Netherlands, but also in Europe and later across the globe.

The prominent nature of his work is demonstrated by the large number of national and international awards his films clinched. This includes the French State Award (for cubeMENcube), a Golden Calf at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht (A Good Turn Daily), two Golden Bears at the Berlinale, Berlin’s international film festival (Pas à deux - together with Monique Renault - and I move, so I am) and a nigh on endless series of major awards at numerous festivals all over the world. Moreover, in 1998, when Van Dijk had been active as an animation filmmaker for 25 years, he was appointed Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

Van Dijk was a master at the animated film genre, but at the same time a many-sided artist. For example, he was the great inspiration behind the establishment of the Holland Animation Film Festival and the Netherlands Institute for Animation Film. In the late seventies, he was one of the driving forces behind the socially critical multi-disciplinary art-project Jute. As a cartoonist and columnist, he contributed to the social debate through Haarlems Dagblad for seventeen years; he reaped international awards with a fireworks display in Montreal, and his photography project Zeek was exhibited from the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the IDFA in Amsterdam, Lisbon to Hiroshima, Japan. Only a few months ago, despite his illness, he travelled to a film festival in Central China, where his work was given centre stage. Gerrit van Dijk still had lots of plans, but he realized they were unfeasible due to his illness.

With the death of Gerrit van Dijk, a great artist has passed away.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.