VIDEO: Father of animation Raoul Servais dies

The death has been announced of Raoul Servais.  Servais is a pioneer of the Belgian animation film and created the first animation film training course in Europe.

Called the “Magician of Ostend” Servais trebled as a draughtsman, designer and film director.  He pioneered animation film as an art and won scores of prizes and awards including the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.  He instigated the animation film course at KASK, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Ghent.

Short film “Harpya” that won the Golden Palm in 1979 is perhaps the most famous of the sixteen films that bear his name.  “Taxandria”, a feature film about the search for freedom in a dictatorship where time is at a standstill is another highlight.  The film took 15 years to complete.

The Ostender was a self-taught film maker.  As a child he watched Charlie Chaplin and Felix the Cat and built his own camera using a cigar box.  His long career took him from edits cut on film to the latest digital technology. Mixing drawings and real-life actors he created “Servaisgraphy”.

Both with regard to content and form Servais’ film were very different from the tame cartoons produced at Disney.  The threat of war and a dislike of systems that crush man, love and poetry are major elements in his films.  The anti-war movie “Chromophobia” signalled his international breakthrough.

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