29 January 2024



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 filmmaker and screenwriter Nina Noël Raaijmakers.

Nina is a body horror filmmaker who is captivated by the human body: our fleshy shell, a gateway to pleasure and pain. By intertwining social issues such as feminism and female body integrity in her fictional worlds, she tries to put her finger on society’s sore, inflamed spots.

“I graduated in June 2022 from St. Joost School of Art and Design as a filmmaker”, Nina says, “so I’m still kind of new to the professional work field. Most of my experience comes from my projects such as my graduation film My Mother the Atomic Bomb. Besides that, I worked on an episode for a short children’s series for KRO NCRV, where I got the challenge to bring my favorite genre ‘horror’ to a whole new audience. Currently I’m working on a new short film body horror project, called FEM(ME), that dives into the theme of female body integrity.”

We asked Nina about the favorite thing she created so far. “I think that My Mother the Atomic Bomb is the project that most represents my vision as a filmmaker at this moment. With it being my graduation film, I was completely free to do what I wanted. Which made the whole process very fun and educational. I think it reflects my artistic vision because the film has an extensive plot, bold visual style, and a deep societal message. Of course, looking back, the film also had some difficulties that often come with making a graduation film, but I do think that you can feel my vision as a director and screenwriter.”

“What I think distinguishes me as a creator” she reflects “is my love for horror, strong female leads, and the way I try to combine actual social issues with fictional worlds. Because I think it’s important that the horror is not there just to shock or ‘be gross’, the horror should bring extra value to the message of the stories that I tell. Visually my work has a dark nature combined with a visceral sound design that keeps you on your toes.”

We were also curious about Nina’s influences. “The artist that inspires my work the most” she answers, “is the French body horror director Julia Ducournau. I think the way she brings female characters to life and the way she portrays them is very new and forward-thinking.”

But what are Nina’s expectations from the Next program? “I would like to expand my network” she says, “and try to make my first steps into the professional film industry. Besides that, I would love to be able to make a new short film this year and bring my style of horror films to the Dutch film landscape.

We asked Nina why she wanted to join this program and she mentions that the program’s value’s as well as what Playgrounds stands for as an organisation, had a great appeal.  “And of course,”she adds,  “the way they make a plan that suits you as an artist and the goals that you have. Also, some of the artists that joined Next before me, are artists that I look up to, with artistry I admire. And they were all very positive about the journey that they made while being with Next.” (Fun fact: despite sharing a last name, Nina is not related with former Nexter Angelo Raaijmakers!)

We also had to know, if Nina could choose anybody in the world, who would she pick as a mentor. “My dream mentoring session” she answers “would be with either Jordan Peele, because of the genius ways he redefined the horror genre to be both entertaining but also have a deep social and political message. Or with Ari Aster, because of his daring approach to horror and the way he embraces the uncomfortable.”

That being said, the care that Nina uses for picking her words, formulating her answers, choosing the images in her films, the narratives and the messages she wants to convey in her stories, leaves us with no doubt her trajectory in Next program will be anything but a horror story!


More about this artist