meet our new generation of talents

We’ve decided to add a little twist to our series “What’s up Next?”.

We are meeting the 2023-2024 generation of talents in two key moments: at the start of their trajectory – focussing on finding out more about the artists and what they expect from the program, and at the end of their course, discussing the things they picked up on the way.

Without further ado, dive into the first talk we had with Dutch animator and illustrator Indah Hijmans.

Indah graduated in 2018 with a BSc in Industrial Design Engineering, but felt something  was missing. “During the MSc Design for Interaction,” Indah says “I starting exploring different paths and realized that the thing I was missing was a more artistic perspective and simply the warmth and passion for the work I was making. This all lead me to apply for the MA Animation at St. Joost in 2021. The first animated short I ever made was in the first semester, called Thread. A film about nostalgia, memory loss and courage where I used poetry as the script. I immediately fell in love with the process of making a film and that was when I knew I made the right choice!”

Talking about a project dear to their heart, Indah says “De Emping Bende en het glimmende zwaard is a 6 minute short film about uninhibited imagination, queer friendships and developing both gender- and cultural identity. During the research phase I wanted to find out how to create understanding of gender and identity in 6-9 year olds and how that could be implemented visually. I spoke with psychologists and teachers and read studies on empathy in film, but it quickly became apparent that children are quick to understand and accept others and the issue with understanding and acceptance lies mostly in their environment and caregivers.

This project is special to me because with my work I want to create the art that I wish I’d seen when I was a young, closeted queer kid from Dutch-Indonesian heritage. Merely seeing an inclusive show that starred queer, non-binary or trans characters would have given me the vocabulary to explain who I was and that I wasn’t the only one feeling lost. Circling back to the research phase that initiated my graduation film, I noticed that almost every study on queer films was done by researchers who are not in the queer community. All studies and papers were about us and not by us. Just something to think about ;-)”

“As a creator I want to combine all of my interests (sketchbooking, intersectionality, doing research and making music) into one universe (possibly with a job title that needs inventing!). Please don’t ask me how because that’s what I’m planning on figuring out this year, during the program.”


“I like to combine pieces of these interests to make work that fully encompasses me and my silly perspectives on the world we live in.

Besides that, I think my uninhibitedness and perception that ‘all the art (especially ‘bad’ art and ‘bad’ ideas) I make will help me get better’ makes me the creator I am today.”

When talking about their expectations about the program, Indah mentions: “I want to explore different combinations of my interests and build a practice that touches upon both autonomous art and social design. I knew about Next even before I thought of applying to the MA Animation, from a friend and former Nexter. The focus on your own professional development rather than completing a project was the biggest reason I wanted to apply, since I am only just starting out and want to find and develop my own voice as a filmmaker, artist and freelancer.”

We asked Indah who their dream mentor would be, could they choose anyone in the world. “I think Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomins, or Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli would be life-changing. However, people always say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes…” And on the note of heroes and inspiration, Indah adds “I have so many inspiration sources from different disciplines! I will start with a piece by Claude Debussy, Valse Romantique. It’s only 3:30 min, but it makes me go through the full cycle of emotions and builds tension beautifully. To stay in the music realm, listen to some of Louie Zong’s albums. His music lives in the same universe as his visual art style and the pace he releases new music is difficult to keep up with! Matt Forsythe and Beatrice Blue are two of my favourite artists. Their use of colour is beautiful and every single book they wrote and illustrated are unique works of art. Matt worked on Adventure Time and Beatrice art directed Wolfboy, both animated – and it inspires me daily to want to work in and combine different fields.”

What can we say? After this talk, we’re that much more eager to see all the wonderful things Indah is set out to do!