1 2 3D Go!

Just like last year, there was a special 3D chalk art piece done behind the Stadhuis recently. I really wanted to see it before the rains came, so on a crisp and sunny morning, Charlie and I headed out to see it. (To be honest, it was supposed to be a short walk, but the day was nice and I decided to keep going and see if it was still there. Charlie didn’t mind.)
3D Chalk Art
We assumed the position necessary to see the 3D depiction properly and were suitably impressed by this year’s work of art.
3D Chalk Art
I’m not sure if this year’s piece was directly related to the Nederlands Film Festival, as last year’s was, but probably so, as it was done during the festival. Last year’s Utrecht theme was more fun than the generic sports/movement theme this year, but it’s still impressive to see!

The curves, numbering, lettering, and details are truly amazing, especially when you view it from any other angle and realize how different it looks when not viewed from the one specific angle. I remain in awe of how they are able to work out the appropriate perspective and stretching and foreshortening to create the final piece.
3D Chalk Art

Reach for the Stars on the Red Carpet

Gouden Kalf
Utrecht is covered in red carpets once again with the start of the Nederlands Film Festival. Everywhere you look, there are red carpets and golden calves (the prize awarded; think Oscar statuette). Charlie and I regularly see the setup in front of the Stadsschouwburg (City Theater) where many films have their premier. I haven’t been to watch any of the red carpet walks this year, but Charlie is ready for his big debut.
Ready for the Red Carpet
In the past, the large Gouden Kalf (golden calf) statue stood in front of the Stadsschouwburg, but with its recent renovation, along with the opening of the renovated Tivoli Music Palace on the other side of town, the Golden Calf has taken up a spot at Neude, the central square in between the two locations.

We stopped by to see the statue, but Charlie wasn’t that impressed. He was more interested in the three dogs also hanging out in the square. I was more interested in the acrobatics also going on in the square.
Gouden Kalf
(WordPress won’t let me add a video any more, so here’s the YouTube link to the acrobatics.)

After checking out the action at Neude, we wandered down the L’Or Filmboulevard. (Sorry, not the best shot, but with the sun reflecting off the sign and a dog fascinated by everything going on along the Oudegracht, it was a quick snap!)
L'or Filmboulevard
The Filmboulevard is sort of like Utrecht’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There is a row of plaques in the ground with hand prints (and a pair of foot prints of Carice van Houten, who has won twice) of stars who have won best actor/actress. I think they may have been preparing for a new plaque when we were walking past that morning.
L'or Filmboulevard
Live your dream, Charlie!
L'or Filmboulevard
Carice has nothing on Charlie’s tiny paws!
L'or Filmboulevard

Charlie and the Golden Calf

Gouden Kalf
The annual Nederlands Film Festival is going on right now, and since the Stadschouwburg is undergoing renovation, the Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf) statue has been moved to Neude this year. Neude has always been one of the spots for the film festival. Pippo and I used to go check out the setup in years past. This year, the old postkantoor (post office) is also being used for some of the festival events. Charlie and I took a walk over yesterday morning to see the sights.
Gouden Kalf
Nederlands Film Festival
Nederlands Film Festival
While the Gouden Kalf was one of the things I wanted to see on the walk, my main destination was the square behind the Stadhuis. I had seen mentions on Twitter about 3D chalk art and wanted to see it for myself, especially before the festival was over or before the rains came again.

We were fortunate to have come at it from the correct angle, so it was fairly clear to see the image right away. But as we stood there at the official viewing spot, we saw people coming from the opposite direction and actually standing on the piece and not having any idea of what it was. It wasn’t until they got to the viewing spot that they realized.

Here’s Charlie sitting in the viewing spot (though getting distracted):
3D Chalk Art
3D Chalk Art
The piece depicts some of the symbols of Utrecht and the festival, with the Domtoren to the right, the Golden Calf in the center, standing in the Oudegracht, and the Inktpot with the UFO shown on the left, among other items.

As I said, if you come at it from the right angle, it’s easy to see. But when you see it from any other side, you realize how unusual and impressive it is!
Nederlands Film Festival
I’ve seen photos of work like this before, but this was the first I’ve seen in person. Definitely worth seeing, and a nice addition to the decorations around town for the festival.

Nederlands Film Festival Opening

Gouden Kalf

Nederlands Film Festival
Wednesday saw the opening of the annual Nederlands Film Festival at the Stadsschouwburg. I’ve taken photos of the Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf) in the past, but never gone to one of the big events, despite the proximity. This year, I figured I’d go check out the red-carpet opening. With camera in hand — and supposedly freshly charged batteries — we wandered over to see what was going on.
Red Carpet
I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be. Would there be throngs of screaming fans? Would there be a constant blinding flash of paparazzi flash bulbs? Would there be fancy cars and fancy gowns?

Well, no. Not really. There was one fancy gown, worn by the star of the film that was premiering, though. Sylvia Hoeks showed up in a pretty dusty-pink, tiered-ruffled, full-length gown with a bit of a swooshy tail. She also has the perkiest of pretty noses. If it’s real, she’s incredibly lucky. If it’s a nose-job, she should thank her surgeon daily.
Sylvia Hoeks

The Dress
As you can see, I got pretty close. In fact, I got up right behind the row of press interviewers and photographers. As for the screaming fans, well, there were fans, but they weren’t screaming. In fact, they were quite calm and friendly and very polite and sweet. I wasn’t really there as a fan, since there was only one person there I recognized, but they didn’t know that. Sometimes one of the fans would see me or another fan trying to get a shot and they’d say sorry and move out of the way to help you get a better shot. It was really quite a nice experience!
Almost a Papparazza

As I said, there was only one person whom I actually recognized. Carice van Houten was the one Dutch actress that I knew of, and I thought she might be there that evening, but I wasn’t sure. As I was turned around to talk to G — explaining that I was kind of hoping Carice would show up — I turned back to the red carpet and suddenly there she was, right in front of me. I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Oh! That’s her!” loudly enough for one of the girls in front of me to turn around and give me a smile.
Carice van Houten

Carice van Houten

Besides being the opening of the film festival, which goes through September 30, the event was also the opening of the film De Bende van Oss (The Gang from Oss). The film is about a woman (played by Sylvia Hoeks), who wants to get out of the life of crime she’s living in the 1930s. In looking up the film, I realized that a woman I know of — a fellow Southern expat who now lives in Rotterdam and plays a mean ukulele — was involved with the film, gathering up extras. I remember seeing her post about it a while back, so it’s fun to see it all come full circle in a way.

There were other stars of the film at the premier, of course. I eventually managed to figure out who most of them are.
Daan Schuurmans
Daan Schuurmans

Interview met Benja Bruijning
Benja Bruijning (in profile)

Matthias Schoenaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts

Frank Lammers en Matthias Schoenaerts
Frank Lammers and Matthias Schoenaerts

There were other actors there who weren’t necessarily in the film, but who have films premiering at the festival, so they came along to the opening. Along with Carice, there was Anna Drijver, who is in the film Loft, which looks like a sexy murder thriller.
Anna Drijver

There was also Halina Reijn, who is in the upcoming film Isabelle, about a woman kidnapped and held hostage, perhaps with hints of Stephen King’s Misery.
Halina Reijn

We had a fun time watching the arrivals, even if we didn’t recognize that many people. You could still tell who the “important” ones were by the sudden rush for photos, not to mention the longer interviews. And now I know the names of some more Dutch actors! I even managed to get a lot of photos, despite the fact that my rechargeable batteries weren’t holding the charge. The camera kept shutting down on me after every couple of photos. Frustrating! I know I could have gotten better photos if I’d not had to take them so fast. Maybe I’ll go to the closing event. I keep hoping to see Michiel Huisman (Treme) or Rutger Hauer. A girl can dream!

Here’s the trailer for De Bende van Oss. FYI, there might be one scene that isn’t the best thing to be caught watching at work.

Foto Vrijdag: A Room With a View

Watching the Arrivals
I’ve got the photos of the film festival premier uploaded to Flickr, but I think I’ll wait til tomorrow to post about it all. A night of interrupted sleep means I don’t have much energy to sort through it all, plus, I’m still missing a few names.

Instead, I’ll go ahead and post this photo that I took at the end of the evening as we were walking home. One of the student associations looks out onto the Stadsschouwburg, where the event was taking place. Some of the students seem to have found a fun way to watch the arrivals.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

Carice van Houten en Halina Reijn
When I saw the topic for this week’s photo challenge, I wasn’t sure what to do. I don’t do portraits, unless you count my pets, and people in general are usually more accidental than intention in my photos.

But then I remembered that this week was the beginning of the annual Nederlands Film Festival! The festival opened yesterday with the premier of the film De Bende van Oss at the Stadsschouwburg. Since I live so close, I figured this would be a fun chance to take some pictures of famous Dutch faces. Probably the most famous face there was Carice van Houten (the woman on the left). She’s been in some films such as Valkyrie and Repo Men, and is going to be in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. The woman on her right is Halina Reijn, an actress starring in the film Isabelle, which is also premiering at the film festival.

It’s not the best photo I took, but I like it for the mix of faces, with so many in different directions, but with the main light being on the faces of Carice and Halina. Appropriate.

Foto Vrijdag 2.39 (A Day Late)

Directions
I went to Den Haag yesterday to meet up with friends, and in the process forgot that it was Friday and that I should post a photo. So here’s one last Film Festival photo, a day late. I didn’t take a ton of photos yesterday, but hopefully a few turned out decently. I’ll post them if they’re worth it.

Nederlands Film Festival Festivities

Nederlands Film Festival
The annual Nederlands Film Festival has returned. Every year, for a week and a half, Utrecht is overrun with film makers and film buffs as a variety of films are shown at cinemas and theaters around the city. I’ve not gone to see any of the films yet, but I always look forward to the arrival of the huge Gouden Kalf (golden calf) statue’s arrival in the grounds in front of the Stadsschouwburg. The golden calf is the symbol of the film festival and a miniature version is given out to award recipients. It’s essentially the Dutch version of the Oscar.
Golden Achievement
They literally roll out the red carpet at many of the theaters around town, and this year they’ve rolled out the red bikes, as well. At various spots around town, you’ll see a bicycle painted red and with theater names and directional arrows — along with the calf symbol — to direct visitors to the event locations. As you’ll see in the next photo, this bike is directing visitors to the City Theater on Voorstraat, and to the Stadsschouwburg off Lucasbolwerk.
Go By Bike
This evening, as we were relaxing on the sofa, watching the news about the austerity protests taking place in cities around Europe, we suddenly saw large groups of people walking past our own window. Was there an austerity protest going on right in front of us? An ironic one, considering the marchers seemed to be wearing golden cloaks? Nope! It was some sort of parade related to the film festival!
Golden Parade
I’m not exactly sure what the parade was for, but it might have something to do with the Jubilee Evening festivities taking place tonight. I found a mention of a parade of fashion artist Aziz Bekkaoui, but I’m not sure they literally meant a parade. Either way, there are music, art and film celebrations at the Stadsschouwburg tonight, and that seemed to be the direction in which they were heading.
Film Festival Parade
They were also singing as they walked along, and I realized that I knew the song! It’s a Dutch classic, although I admit that I know best the version that was performed at the first Nacht Van Het Vieze Lied (night of the dirty song) I attended. The song was Zing, Vecht, Huil, Bid, Lach, Werk en Bewonder (Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire) by Ramses Shaffy. I really do like this song, so for your listening pleasure, here it is!