Here’s a small montage of some of the footage of my trip to Warsaw for Mia. Had such a great time… I had never been to eastern Europe before. Was very inspirational and new to me. But most of all it were all the filmmakers and organisators that made it special.
(My buddy you see here is of course Bert Vandecasteele, with who I wrote Mia. Portfolio: http://web-epos.be/ )

Enjoy

Dear friends,

I am writing this from the Warsaw Film Festival in Poland where we had the world premiere of Mia yesterday. It went great. :) Finally sitting in the venue and feeling the emotions and reactions of the crowd was just awesome. The film really came through and with that a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Goosebumps everywhere.

It’s such an inspiration to go to film festivals like this. You meet so many filmmakers, journalists, critics, organisators from all over the globe: Canada, the UK, South-Korea, Japan, Australia, Belarus, Argentine, Chile, Romania, … The list goes on and on. Hanging out together in the evenings and talking about our joys, hopes, anxieties, dreams – it’s such a wonderful feeling. I have some great anecdotes, pictures and videos to share with you next blogpost.

But for now, here’s the teaser for Mia!

Hey friends,

I have decided to finally post some artwork I made for my new short ‘Mia’, which we are currently making. These are stills I painted in Photoshop during the development of the short, that should represent the look of the final film.

At the time I made a complete production dossier with the script, character descriptions, my intention, these paintings and more. Together with my producer Viviane Vanfleteren (Vivi Film) we went out to find a studio that wanted to make the film with us. That studio turned out to be Creative Conspiracy, located in Ghent. It’s there that I have had the privilege to be directing my film with the studio’s super awesome team. And since about 2 weeks NMTrix from Alkmaar, The Netherlands has joined us on the animation department.

I would like to keep it short, because we are still in production and I am still in focused mode. I will let the paintings do the talking.

Cheers,W

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Dear friends,

finally the day has come to upload my graduation short on the internet. After touring film festivals all over the world Snickers has returned home and decided to go online.

It’s been about 2 years now since I’ve finished the film, to wrap up my animation studies in Genk, Belgium, and I’m still very fulfilled and happy about the film. I can’t really put into words the ups and downs I went through during that year, but it was completely worth it in the end. Seeing how people all over the world enjoy this little film is just such a great feeling…

So here it is:

Here’s the list of all the film festivals it has been selected:

Giffoni Film Festival 2011 (Italy), Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2011 (USA), BAMkids Film Festival 2012, New York (USA) TIFF Kids 2012, Toronto (Canada), Festival Int. de cinéma jeunesse de Rimouski 2011 (Canada), 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2011 (S-Korea), Little Big Shots 2012 (Australia), Short for Kids – Verona Film Festival 2012 (Italy), 8th InDPanda International Short Film Festival 2012 (Hong Kong), Int. Children’s Media Center 2012 (USA), 2nd annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children and Youth 2012, Salt Lake City (USA), Traverse City Film Festival 2012 (USA), newportFILM 2012 (USA), 28ieme Festival Du Cinéma Européen 2012, Lille (France), 17° Festival Internacional de Cine para Niños 2012 (Mexico), The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2012, Massachusetts (USA), Singapore International Children’s Film Festival 2012 (Singapore), Arty Pants, at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (USA), Int. Art Film Festival for Children in Colombia 2011 (Colombia), Filmlabfestival 2012 (Italy), 34th Int. Children’s Film Festival LUCAS 2011 (Germany), Kaliber35 Munich Int. Short Film Festival 2011 (Germany), 19th Filmfest Hamburg 2011 (Germany), Peterborough Int. Film Festvial 2013 (Canada), Curtocircuito Santiago de Compostela ISFF 2011 (Spain), El Meu Primer Festival 2012 (Spain), Int. Film Festival Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France), International Short Film Festival Lille 2012 (France), La Fête d’Animation Lille 2012 (France), Emmentaler Filmtage 2010 (Switserland), Cinekid 2012 (The Netherlands), MCM Filmfest 2011 (The Netherlands), Anima 2011 (Belgium), Film Festival Oostende 2011 (Belgium), Int. Short Film Festival Leuven 2010 (Belgium), 14th Brussels Short Film Festival 2011 (Belgium), Ciné Privé 2011 (Belgium) Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 (Belgium)

Here’s the prize list:

VAF Wildcard for Animation 2010 (Belgium), Winner Canvas prize Animation 2010 (Belgium), Winner Best Animated Short for kids, Int. Youth Film Fest. Rimouski 2011 (Canada), Winner Best Animated Short for kids, Int. Film Fest. Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France) Winner Zebracinema-prize 2010 (Belgium)

At the moment I am directing in Ghent full time for my new short, in the studio and with the awesome team of Creative Conspiracy and produced by Vivi Film (Les Triplettes de Belleville, The Secret of Kells, …). Much more on that in the upcoming post!

Enjoy!

Wouter

Dear friends,

since a couple of months I am working full time on my new short ”Mia”, together with the incredible crew of Creative Conspiracy, in Gent. Though I could already show you several visuals and stuff, I would still like to keep them to myself. Don’t want to jinx what we got going. :)

But no worries, here’s something else I can finally share with you: the short animated sequences I directed for the Flemish television program ”Groenland” on Eén, made by production house Hotel Hungaria.

Together with amazing animator Matty Jorissen and Wijnand Driessen (Matte! Nande?) we made animated segments, each +-10 seconds long, that merged two different video items of the gardening program. Every week for 43 weeks, we made 2 of these segments, resulting in a total of about 14 minutes of animation.

The character animation was entirely made in Flash, though we tried to keep an organic and tactile feel to it. Backgrounds were hand painted on paper, with aquarel and pencil. Compositing was done in After Effects.
It was quite a challenge for us to deliver these pieces every week, for a whole tv season, in between other work. We’re very glad we pulled it off. Keeping the gags funny and/or original was our main focus, while staying in the feeling of the program in its whole.

Here’s a montage of some of the best moments. Watch full screen and in HD for more eye candies! Enjoy!

Heya visitors,

finally I have the honor to present to you the 2 books I have drawn for the city of Genk, where I grew up in.

2 books? One is a kind of diary of myself, filled with drawings of important places of the city or of places that have a special meaning to me. It’s a hard cover, has color and is very sturdy. This kind of personal sketchbook is meant for the more grown up audience. The other book is for all the energetic kids that want to color their asses off: it’s a coloring book. It’s kind of a simplified version of the other one. But there are a lot of drawings as well that are drawn specially for this one, things I thought the kids of Genk would enjoy coloring.

It is just such an honor to get the chance to do this for my city. Big props go to Kristof Reulens who came up with the idea of making this book and initiated it. ”Why wouldn’t we make a book filled with drawings of our city? Wouldn’t that be great?” I thought so too, so we did it.

I really took my time making these books, drawing mostly during the weekends, while working on other projects. It was liberating going out again with a piece of paper and my pencil and marker. No computers, no pixels, just paper, pen and the outsides. I didn’t get pressured either, by the city, and I was really trusted with the project, being allowed to do what I think would be right.

Another great part of the project was working together with the talented couple Daan Linsen and Debora Lauwers. Their graphic design bureau: http://www.postcardofapainting.com/ Debora her Tumblr: http://deboralauwers.tumblr.com/ They were put in charge of putting the books together, doing the layouts and pimping things up. It was real fun to have their original and experienced look on things and to learn and work with them. Together we created a kind of worn out look of the hardcover book, trying to make it a cosy and used sketchbook. They really added a lot to the book, giving it a lot more feeling and character. Down here you see all three of us.

A picture is worth a 1000 words, so I’ll cut the talk. Here’s a (pretty big) peak at the 2 books! They are sold in Genk in the Uit in Genk shop (in between the library and the train station), in the C-mine shop and in the bookshop Malpertuis in Genk. The hard cover is 20€, the coloring book 5€. Enjoy!

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Quite a while ago my sister gave me this: a little metal box with Mister Strong on it and inside of it a tiny orange origami bird. She said to me: this is what I wish for you, to be strong on the outside and to stay tender on the inside. I’ve always liked having it lying around on my desk somewhere.

Over the last couple of months I have been realizing that it’s ok to be tender and vulnerable. That your vulnerability is actually what makes you strong.

In a museum about fairy tales I read the following lines that reminded me of what my sister said: ” [...] for the hero(ine) to find the courage to be vulnerable. Because those who don’t dare to be vulnerable never really start their quest.”

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Found an old picture of myself from another life.

Hi all,

here it is, the working title of my new short: Mia.

The screenplay is final and at the moment, I am storyboarding, designing and just engulfing myself with the movie. Trying to keep it running through my veins.

As I said in the previous post, I’ve written it with my friend Bert Vandecasteele. More to come in the following months..

Hi buddies,

made a small illustration this weekend for my good Berlin based Belgian screenwriting pal Bert Vandecasteele. I have been working closely together with Bert these last couple of months, writing on the script of my new animated short, with the VAF Wildcard. It’s great sharing insights with him, brainstorming together, listening to him analyzing my script and picking each other’s brain. Makes writing so much more fun, compared to when I was writing alone on Mouse for sale. Here’s a picture of Bert and I next to the Berlin wall, when was in Berlin with my girlfriend for a week.

Here’s his website: http://web-epos.be/  and the reviews and analyses he makes: http://web-epos.be/reviews/

Bert submitted an exposé for a screenwriting contest and I made an illustration for the front page. It’s an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tail ”The Tinderbox”. I have also been involved in the development of the writing for a small part, which was great to get the feel for the atmosphere I had to create in the drawing. The man who owns the tinderbox sees a woman in the flame and finds her.

Here it is. Drew it first on paper and painted it in Photoshop. I am finally experimenting more with brushes, trying to get a more tactile painting.

Hi visitors,

a bit of a different kind of post but I wanted to do a shout-out to a friend and colleague of mine: Tom Van Gestel.

I met Tom during my internship at Walking The Dog in Brussels in 2009 where he was one of my internship leaders, together with Quartier. Both were my senseis not only during the time I worked at the studio, but also afterwards, during the making of Mouse for sale. They were always there to relentlessly comment on my work, tell me in all honesty how much it sucked and give me pointers. Never satisfied but with the best, they pushed me to the next level. I owe a great deal of the skills I have to these two guys. Both had intimidatingly good graduation shorts and my goal was to try to reach their level, one way or the other.

Now, working on my new short film, I’ve officially appointed Tom as my mentor. What made me want to have Tom as my backup are the following things: 1. He is really really picky about everything and will tell you in your face if he thinks something sucks. 2. When he tears something down, he will always give you advice how to build it up again, in a very straightforward way. 3. He is extremely talented, works like crazy and doesn’t make a big fuss about it.

Both Tom and Freek have been big examples for me in attitude and professionalism. So now, being able to work on the new film with Tom as my mentor and combining both our experiences and skills is just great.

Anyway, here are some examples of Tom’s work. Too bad he is busy working all the time and doesn’t post much of what he does online. (Can’t seem to find his graduation short or much of his older work.) What he most recently has been doing was the production design of the Dutch short ”The Monster of Nix” which was the animated short the Netherlands sent to the Oscars. Together with Freek, Tom did all the backgrounds (which were almost all matte paintings, with very little actual 3D in it, which they got to work somehow) and designed a lot of the characters and props. Every time he explains to me how he made what he made I am astonished about how mundane is goes about it. I’m just very glad I’ve got an example like him to pull myself up to and to keep learning from. Here’s some of his work I found on his blog http://tomvg.blogspot.com/ and grabbed from the trailers of ”The Monster of Nix”. At the moment Tom is directing an animated series ”Picknick with Pie”, based on the kidsbook by Thé Tjong Khing.

Enjoy.

Hi readers,

time for another post.

As described in the last post I was invited at the Film Festival of Ghent to participate at a debate about working abroad vs. working in Belgium, in the audio-visual business. That was a few weeks ago, but it was really an interesting and truthful discussion, everyone saying like it is. The group consisted of 2 studio bosses, a leader of a cultural/audio-visual concern, a teacher/freelancer, Frédéric Du Chau (director in the States for Disney), myself (starting freelancer/director) and Jan Verheyen (director in Belgium) as the moderator.

We talked about our experiences working in Belgium and abroad. Frédéric mainly comparing the American style of working with the European/Belgian style. It was great hearing first hand from him how things work overseas. He knows about both sides, which made him the ideal person to compare them. It was very inspiring to hear him talk about his path of life and how he fulfilled his dreams. How tough it was and how worthwhile it has been.

We also talked a great deal about education and school. That’s where I kicked in. We asked ourself a lot of questions, talking from our own experiences. Things like: is the gap between the graduating student and the actual industry too big? Is integrating students in studio’s (a bit like I did by doing extra internships) a good thing? How can we take students to the next level, during their studies? I really enjoyed the fact that people really said what they thought, even if it meant you bothered someone else by doing so. This made the discussion worthwhile.

I also had the chance to show my graduation short Mouse for sale to Frédéric and to get feedback from him. He said he was pretty impressed and said that I should go for it, if I was thinking to work in the States. It was a bit surreal talking about it and I said I would think about it.

But anyway, here’s a picture of the whole gang. Except for me, because I was on the toilet for 2 minutes the moment the photographer came by.. So far for my timing. So I drew myself in the picture as best as I could.

Here’s one with me in real life.

And one with Frédéric.

In every day life I’m still working on the new film. Going over it again and again and again. Have to get it right. More about that later.

Cheerios!
Wouter

Hi there friends,

some more news.

Wanted to let you know I’ll be participating in a debate at the upcoming Film Festival of Ghent: http://www.cinevox.be/nl/talent-van-eigen-bodem-op-eigen-bodem/ Friday morning the 14th of October, in the Kinepolis in Gent. Reservations are already closed, but I’d thought I’d let you know anyway.. It will be a talk about wether or not it’s a good thing to stay in Belgium as a filmmaker, or if the Holy Grail is found abroad, in the States for example. Big guest is the Belgian director Frédéric Du Chau, director of Racing Stripes and Underdog. He has made the move to the States more than a decade ago. As always, I feel very honored to be invited at a debate with such a group of talented, experienced people..

Also, Mouse for sale has been released on DVD, on this year’s ”Selected Shorts 13: The Best Flemish Short Flims”: http://www.selectedshorts.com/product_info.php?products_id=93&osCsid=6fcfc16a3270a5d3b044d0de You can buy the DVD in most stores that sell films, for 15euros. It’s really a bargain, because you get almost 3,5 hours of Flemish short films (11 live-actions shorts, 2 animated shorts) in return. Lot’s of them have won prizes at international film festivals. It’s really fun to see how all these directors have got their own characteristic approach to film making.

It’s only now that I have really started watching a lot of live-action shorts. Makes me very excited. It’s great to see how the film makers experiment making these shorts. That’s the big advantage over feature film for me: you have got a lot more room for experimentation, not having to deal with huge budgets and box office results. I’m planning on watching the past Selected Shorts DVD’s as well, trying to learn more from my live-action director colleges.

That’s it for now. Working hard every day on the preproduction and designs of my new film and the weekly Groenland animations.

Peace!
Wouter

Hi friends,

it’s been time for a new post since quite a while. So here it is. Here are some updates.

I’m working on my new animated short full time. Doing all the designs and fine-tuning the script, while being mentored by the übertalented Tom Van Gestel. It’s the first time that I’m giving the character and set designs such an important role, within the story and the look of the film. I really wanted to raise the bar, in comparison to Mouse for sale and play with styles and designs. Working on this is taking up most of my days. As always, it includes a great deal of struggles and trial and error. But the film is really starting to live and breath, which is really fun to see. Just keep on going, that’s the mantra.

Apart from the new film I’ve gotten the chance do short animated pieces for a program on the Belgian TV channel ”één” (= one). For 42 weeks I’ll be supervising and creating 20 seconds of animation, each week. It is part of a new gardening program called ”Groenland” (= Greenland). As a transition between the 3 big segments of the program there will be short animated pieces. These are 2D (flash animated and watercolor background) clips, where you see a drawn version of the host going from one set to the other, in an amusing way (or so we try). A good friend of mine who studied animation at the same school, Matty Jorissen, is doing the character animation. I’m doing the supervision and the painting of the backgrounds. I wish I could show you some of the results, but I’m not allowed to put it online. So you’ll have to do with the picture above. :) You can always watch the program on TV, every Sunday at 18h15, on één. Here are some pieces of the program online, though not including the animation: http://www.een.be/programmas/groenland

I’ve also recently made an overview of the festivals where Mouse for sale has been or will be shown. Might be fun to post it here as well:

Giffoni Film Festival 2011 (Italy),  Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2011 (USA), Festival Int. de cinéma jeunesse de Rimouski 2011 (Canada), 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2011 (South-Korea), Int. Art Film Festival for Children in Colombia 2011 (Colombia), 34th International Children’s Film Festival LUCAS 2011 (Germany), Kaliber35 Munich Int. Short Film Festival 2011 (Germany), 19th Filmfest Hamburg 2011 (Germany), Curtocircuito Santiago de Compostela ISFF 2011 (Spain), International Film Festival Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France), Emmentaler Filmtage 2010 (Switserland), MCM Filmfest 2011 (The Netherlands), Anima 2011 (Belgium), Film Festival Oostende 2011 (Belgium),  Intern. Short Film Festival Leuven 2010 (Belgium), 14th Brussels Short Film Festival 2011 (Belgium), Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 (Belgium)

It has become quite a list. I’m just really happy so many people can enjoy the film this way and that it can mean something to people who don’t even speak the same language as I do.

Other than that I’ve moved to Hasselt, about 20km from where I lived before in Genk. It was time for a change. So at the moment, I’m just working on these projects and trying to be happy.

Peace, W

Swimming with a whale must be awesome..

Hi guys,

thought I’d keep you guys up to date about what I’m doing at the moment and what I’ve been doing lately. Here’s a small overview..

In progress / doing at the moment:

screenwriting and storyboarding my new animated shortfilm (with the VAF Wildcard budget)

supervising and doing the post-production for a short ”Feeling” magazine commercial for the Flemish TV (assignment by Hotel Hungaria)

making 1,5 minute of animation for a segment of a kids-program pilot, possibly for a Flemish TV-station (initiative of a group of freelancing television makers)

illustrating for the sketchbook of Genk (doing this now and then, and will be doing this for quite a while)

Done / recently completed:

post-production of a Toyota Prius commercial for national television (assignment by Hotel Hungaria)

making the storyboard and animatic of an episode of an animated series for kids, for a Flemish TV-station (assignment by animation studio Hoaxland)

supervising and doing the post-production and animation for 4 internetcommercials for DVV Verzekeringen (assignment by Hotel Hungaria), one can still be found here: Jean-Marie Pfaff trickshots

Things have been going very well and I’ve been able to keep busy all the time. Getting out of school and finding a way into the professional world was a challenge. But by sticking to the philosophy of always doing your best, however big or small the project, and always trying to deliver great work, things worked out.

I’ve almost always been working at my home on all the projects, as a freelancer. It’s got its pros and cons. Biggest pro is that you can structure your day as you wish. (Which is a con at the same time.) Biggest con is that you are working on your own for most of the time. (Which is a pro at the same time.) All in all, I like it and I’m very grateful to be in the position that I am in now.

Here’s a peek at my workroom.

cheers W

Hi,

here’s a little owl I painted for my dad his birthday. On old wise owl..

bye, W

Hi all,

I’ve started drawing for the city of Genk since a couple of weeks.  The end product will be a little book that will be sold in the touristic points in Genk, full of drawings of places in and around Genk (by me, yeah, it’s a bit crazy..). The goal for the book is to be a coloring book for kids and at the same time an enjoyable picture book of the city, for adults.

It’s a great assignment, one that means a lot to me. It’s really liberating to get out and draw again, in the open. Being freed up from the computer. Back to paper and marker. Love it.

I’ll keep you up to date!

cheers W

Just got back from Berlin, visiting a couple of friends and getting to know the city. It was just as gritty and raw as i imagined it would be. The city breathes and bleeds history, everything you see has a story. A very active and youthful place, full of life and initiative. A very inspirational place to be, really liked it.

Hey friends,

if you might be bored or have 10 minutes to kill, here’s an interview made by De Positieve Revolutie.

De Positieve Revolutie is an initiative by a couple of active people, who feel that’s it’s time for our school systems to give a bit more attention again to the individual talents of our pupils. Talents, other than listening to, remembering and reproducing information that is being given to them. A cause I feel is worth standing up for.

In this context, De Positieve Revolutie contacted me to do an interview and talk about how I became an animator and how the road to my passion looked like. Enjoy. :)

Here is another interview, of the Belgian actress Joke Devynck, which I found very inspiring. It really struck me how we say the same things a lot of the time.

wallysketches?

Welcome to the blog of the Belgian animator called Wouter 'Wally' Bongaerts. This is where he puts his sketches, photo's and works in progress. It's kept simple for your pleasure. Feel free to roam around or contact him at wouterbongaerts@gmail.com!

Wally’s tweets

  • RT @screencrafting: "Tell me and I will forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I will understand." - Confucius 4 weeks ago
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