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RIP Raoul Servais

It is with great regret and sadness that we announce the death of RAOUL SERVAIS,

artist-filmmaker, pioneer of Flemish/Belgian/European animation cinema.

He passed away on Friday, March 17, 2023 in his home in Leffinge to which he was

so attached.

We were informed of this sad news by Servais' family.

Raoul Servais, 94, continued to follow the activities surrounding his work with great interest.

For instance, he was still present at Film Fest Gent in October 2022 to attend the world premiere of his 16th short film "Der Lange Kerl" / "The Tall Guy" (in collaboration with director Rudy Pinceel).

He was delighted that his manuscript "Memories of War" has just been published by the King Baudouin Foundation as part of the exhibition that runs until 31 May 2023 at the ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ in Ypres.

We extend our sincere condolences to the family. The loss will be great. He will be hugely missed.


Raoul Servais was born in Ostend in 1928 and became one of the most important figures

in the history of animation. His work is characterised by a surreal and dreamlike quality,

and often explores themes such as love, death and the human condition. Raoul Servais was, above all, an activist for peace and warned against the dangers of extremism.

Raoul Servais studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, where he developed

his unique style and began experimenting with animation techniques. In 1963, he founded an autonomous Animation Film department there, where he taught for many years. This immediately became the first school for animation film in continental Europe.

Raoul Servais won more than 60 film prizes and awards, including the San Marco Lion for best animated film in Venice with "Chromophobia" (1966), the Grand Prix of the Jury in Cannes with "Operation X-70" (1971 ), the Palme d'Or, also in Cannes, for "Harpya" (1979), the Grand Prize and the Prize of the International Film Critics at the Annecy Animation Film Festival for "Nocturnal Butterflies" (1998).

He won important awards at numerous other festivals in Belgium and abroad such as Bilbao, Teheran, Montreal, Leipzig, Moscow, Chicago, Philadelphia, Sydney, Oberhausen, Zagreb, Porto, Rome, Valladolid.

In October 2015, he received the Silver Spike at the Valladolid Film Festival for his short

film "Tank".

On 15 October 2022, he received the Joseph Plateau Honorary Award for his oeuvre at

Film Fest Gent.

Servais was a true pioneer of animation, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the medium. His work has been an inspiration for countless artists and animators around the world.

Servais tributes with retrospectives of his work were held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris, in Saint-Etienne, Annecy, Valladolid, Madrid, Valencia, Siena, Bursa, Istanbul, Ankara, Sousse (Tunisia), Meknes (Morocco), Montreal, Vancouver, the Museum of Modern Art and the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York and in Chicago, among others. Furthermore, at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank - Hollywood, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hong Kong, Taishung (Taiwan), Jeonju (South Korea), Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, St Petersburg and Poznan.

Exhibitions of his graphic-film work travelled to Osaka, Annecy, Montreal, Paris, Laon, Roubaix, Tehran, Bursa, Cairo, Valladolid, São Paulo, Ghent, Ostend, Middelkerke and Bredene.

Besides his animation work, Servais was also a talented painter and illustrator, with a number of exhibitions of his work across Europe. He continued to draw and create art until his death, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.

At the end of 2019, Raoul Servais donated a large part of his archive to the King Baudouin Foundation, which thereby aims to permanently preserve Servais' patrimony for posterity, and also make it accessible to everyone through travelling exhibitions, among other things.

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