Raoul Servais, one of the most innovative Belgian filmmakers of the 20th century, has donated his documentation to the King Baudouin Foundation. The graphic works, cells, documents and items used in his iconic films, will now be preserved and made accessible for ever.
Filmmaker Raoul Servais from Ostend (born 1 May 1928) is seen as the father and pioneer of animated film in Belgium and continues to inspire animated filmmakers throughout the world. He won numerous prizes, including a Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and set up the first animation film school in Ghent (KASK), which was also the first one in continental Europe. His world-renowned oeuvre consists of 15 short animated films and one feature-length film.
He already displayed his experimental, creative spirit at a young age when he made his first film using a home-made camera which had been assembled by a teacher from a cigar box and some toy parts. He also invented his own film technique, the Servaisgraph, a combination of animation and live action.
Servais was a real self-taught animator. He studied Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, but he had a particular passion for animated films, even though there was no course available in that subject. In 1960 he became a lecturer there and set up the Animated Film course.
Servais has always looked for new or innovative styles that would suit the subjects and scripts of his films. The content always came first, and the graphic style was adapted in accordance. War, power, mystery and politically or socially engaged narratives often come up but always in a different way. He has an unparalleled ability to combine humour, fear, sadness and longing.
Passing it on to future generations
To preserve and promote Raoul Servais’ legacy , the non-profit association Fonds Raoul Servais has been created, and in 2018 a Raoul Servais wing was opened at Mu.ZEE in Ostend. The King Baudouin Foundation has now also received the documentation of this versatile film director and artist. He donated a large number of graphic works, cells (celluloids) and items used in his films to the Foundation. The donation includes original drawings, painted sets, models, numerous cells, photographic documentation, posters and other materials from a number of his well-known films, including Taxandria, Harpya, Nocturnal Butterflies, Sirene, Pegasus and Operation X-70.
Raoul Servais values training students and sharing his knowledge and experience. He is still actively involved in creative work, and he hopes that his donation to the Foundation will allow him to pass on his work to future generations. The Foundation is committed to preserve this exciting heritage from the world of film and make it accessible to the public and is planning an exhibition at the BELvue museum later in 2020.