KALTBLUT Fashion Film Winner: ‘Sock Monster’ by ANT EYE | Hanneke Klaver and Tosca Schift

#FashionclashFestival! The Fashion Film and Video program offered a platform to emerging designers, artists and filmmakers who experiment with the genre of fashion film/video, animation and other related audiovisual and digital media. The selected films were on display at Lumière Cinema in Maastricht. In addition to the Fashion Film and Video program, two Awards were handed out during the Official Opening of the FASHIONCLASH Festival. 

‘Sock Monster’ takes place in a dreamlike world of laundry rooms. A network of washing lines connects the rooms to one another. The ritual of washing and drying alternates until the human being leaves the room. Then the washing machine comes to life. One has a hidden agenda. Single socks are its object of trade.

‘Sock Monster’ is a magical realist film that explores the phenomenon of lost socks, a world of routines and surrealism, opposing characters and strange twists. An inherently non-narrative film that allows popular culture and imagination to merge, leaving the human out of the equation.


“Hanneke Klaver and Tosca Schift are an artist duo who create works that straddle the boundary between design, performance and art. They met at ArtEZ art academy in Arnhem, where they both studied Product Design. Klaver and Schift are inseparable, operating together under the name Ant Eye.

Ant Eye’s art is best described as playful, absurdist and slightly magical, focusing on the tension between everyday and the surreal as a gateway to a world of imagination. ‘We embody the objects we create, thus bringing them to life,’ says Schift. ‘By literally putting ourselves into our work, and experimenting with it, we find perspectives that teach us more about what the role of design could be.'” Text excerpt: Iris Stam.

KALTBLUT: The original „Sock Monster“ was made for the Fashionclash Festival, Clash Project 2019. Please tell us something about the project back in 2019:

Tosca: Sock Monster is a driving washing machine with a small tricycle inside. And it has two side panels that can unfold into a drying rack filled with socks. It is a kind of costume that we made for the Fashionclash catwalk in 2019.

Hanneke: During the show, it arose the question is this fashion? Nobody would wear this. It was a funny character driving as a little rascal down the catwalk which is a weird vehicle in a weird context. And that can be refreshing.

It was made from the idea that pairs of socks get lost in the laundry. Sock Monster is an answer to this mystery of losing pairs of socks. When you look from the perspective of the monster you could ask the question why would it steal socks? This was the starting point of our short film.

KALTBLUT: How important are Festivals like Fashionclash for young creatives like you?

Hanneke: Really important! After our graduation, we had big ideas, but no platform, no experience and no big name. So it’s difficult to find places to show your work and especially find places where you have the freedom to create experimental work as a starting artist.

Tosca: For us, it was fundamental to the development of our artistic practice. When you just graduate it is good to have a deadline that you can work towards, also it was important that we knew that we were going to make something big. So, shortly after we heard we were selected for the festival we hired a big studio space. Now, after almost 4 years, we still profit from having this space.

KALTBLUT: In November 2022 you presented your short movie „Sock Monster“ at Fashionclash. Who came up with the idea to make a short film out of the performance from 2019?

Hanneke: We both felt like the character deserved a film. There were a lot of mysteries surrounding the monster. Where did he come from? Why does he steal socks? What are its ambitions and goals? These questions lent themselves to developing a story for the character.

Tosca: Next to this we had the goal to make a film for a film festival. We applied for the Gelderland film pitch program, which is a competitive program to get funding and guidance for making a short film. So we also had a platform where we were able to premiere the film.

KALTBLUT: Your film is not a classic fashion film. How would you describe your own film? What is the story behind…

Hanneke: I would say it’s a short experimental fiction film. Just to give it a name. It plays with fashion and props, consumerism, and daily habits and it is ambiguous. There is no spoken language, just gibberish and it’s all accompanied by ambient music and techno beats.

Tosca: Yes. And about the story: People have different interpretations of the film. So that’s good. We didn’t intend to make a film that has one story to tell. Instead, we are looking for a multitude of perspectives in order to create our own interpretations. We wanted the story to be ambiguous; to have no clear view of right or wrong. The characters have each their own interests and that creates conflicts. So, the storyboard, the camerawork and the way we cut the scenes are meticulously chosen. For example, you have the black-world scenes which are bright in colour, sharp and animated, and the beach scenes which are soft in colour, a bit vague and have no animation. They alternate with each other. The black-world scenes must present the real world but it is filmed in greenscreen so totally fake and the beach scenes must present the hidden world in which washing machines trade avocado socks. We like to play with the ideas of real and fake.

KALTBLUT: Who did what at the production of the film? Was it hard or easy to find a creative team around you to produce your film?

Who helped you with your short movie?

Tosca: We did the production by ourselves. Hanneke and Tosca and Tosca and Hanneke. We did everything together, from the first idea to the last export render. We had help from friends with shooting the scenes on the beach and for the music, we asked two colleagues.

Hanneke: We both did everything together. We raised the money, we made the script, Tosca was most of the time behind the camera and I in front. We made the outfits and attributes and scouted the locations. The black-world scenes are filmed in our own studio. We made a greenscreen wall and for a couple of months, we worked in green. During the beach scenes, we had great help from a couple of good friends Judith Muijs, Jasmijn van der Weijden and Marieke van Heesbeen. And for the music and sound design, we asked sound artists Oscar van Leest and Jochem van der Hoek. We know them from art school and we thought their style would fit our film.

Tosca: Because our film doesn’t have spoken language, the music was of great importance to set the scene and to keep the attention of the audience. Oscar and Jochem composed the music during the same period we were shooting the scenes of the film. So, we were able to use soundtracks while editing the footage. So, the footage is also adjusted to the pace of the music. In the film, it’s more common that music is made when the film is almost finished, but for us, it worked best to do the opposite.

KALTBLUT: Where had you drawn the inspiration for this film?

Tosca: The film is not inspired by one specific thing. All elements that appear in the film come from daily life in Europe. For example, the laundry lines are inspired by the drying line in Italy between houses in cities. It’s a clever construction and we like the idea that you are connected to your neighbour in this way. The avocado socks react to popular culture in fast fashion. And in this way, there are much more elements of inspiration.

KALTBLUT: Did you go to film school? Or what is your creative background? What inspired you to become a short filmmaker?

Hanneke: We both graduated from art school in the department of Product Design at ArtEZ in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Our department was not that traditional so we had the freedom to experiment with the idea of a product and function. During our studies, we found out that we loved recording interactions between humans and objects and the way in which materials transform. That was the beginning of working with film as a medium to show our work. In 2019 we bought our first film camera and started filming. Along the way, we learned more and more about the film. We learned to use lighting, we learned to use the green screen. Before we made our short film Sock Monster we never had made animations. But during the film, we just watched tutorials and learned to animate our footage. We also see that at the beginning of our film, the animations are less smooth and have worse lighting than some scenes that come after.

KALTBLUT: Who are your filmmaking influencers?

Tosca: We are inspired by the work of Jacques Tati, David Cronenburg, René Laloux, Merriem Bennani and Douwe Dijkstra. From Douwe, we also had some guidance during the making of our film.

KALTBLUT: What were the toughest aspects of making this film?

Tosca: Logistics were difficult because we had to film a couple of scenes on the beach on one of the Dutch Islands.

Hanneke: Also, it took a lot of time. We didn’t want to create a story that is straightforward. When we started filming we had the outlines of a story. We had a kind of script, but along the way, we changed the narrative. We searched for unexpected twists and turns that would make the story more ambiguous. This way of working gave us the freedom to implement new ideas but simultaneously was much more time-consuming. It required a flexible attitude. That’s why we had to do most of the work (filming, editing, colouring, prop design, acting, and animating) with the two of us.

KALTBLUT: Were there any funny anecdotes from your filmmaking process?

Tosca: Probably, but I can’t think of one right now. Hanneke?

Hanneke: I don’t know if this is interesting, but we shot some scenes on a beach. Because the space was so big and there was a lot of wind it was impossible for us to understand each other. So we brought some walkie-talkies with us to talk with the actor inside the washing machine. The actor clipped the walkie-talkie on the front panel of the machine and it just looked really natural, as if it belonged with the monster. Also, the sound of the walkie-talkie alarm is recognizable. In the editing room, we decided to make the walkie-talkie part of the film. It became the way in which Sock Monster communicated with the other washing machine.

KALTBLUT: What projects are you working on next?

Tosca: Usually a project develops naturally from our learning processes. Right now we are working on our narrative skills. That’s why we write a lot and watch a lot of films at the moment. We are doing more research into the philosophy of Ant Eye to find new stories that we can use in a new film or performance.

KALTBLUT: Where do you see yourself in the film industry in a few years?

Hanneke: Sock Monster was our first film and we feel like there is a lot more to discover in the film and the industry. We would love to have found more like-minded spirits to collaborate with in making a film. For example performers, dancers, writers, rap artists and musicians.

Tosca: Now we have worked with a washing machine. In the future, we would like to make a transforming character that is the size of a car. It would be a character in which four or five people fit. Together they control the body. You can think of it as a donkey costume in which someone is front and someone else is back. But then visually magical with a body that has an intricate way of moving. When you go beyond the human size it can be more of an immersive experience.

KALTBLUT: What is Your Advice to students who want to direct films?

Hanneke & Tosca: Let the process guide you. There are a lot of ways to make a film, there are no limitations or borders. Before you start producing, you don’t need to know how to make the film from A to Z. There is a lot you can discover and learn during the process.