Acclaimed Belgian animator Raoul Servais passed away on Friday

Acclaimed Belgian animator Raoul Servais passed away on Friday
Belgian cinema pioneer Raoul Servais poses for the photographer before the screening of a documentary, at Flagey, in Brussels, Wednesday 12 December 2018. Credit: Belga / Thierry Roge

Raoul Servais (94) passed away on Friday 17 March in his home in Leffinge, West Flanders. He was an acclaimed Belgian filmmaker, animator and cartoonist.

Servais is regarded as the father and pioneer of animation in Belgium and inspires others in the industry. He was a man of many accomplishments and his work earned numerous awards including the Golden Palm at the Cannes International Festival for his short film Harpya.

At a young age, Servais made his first film at his home in Ostend using a homemade camera that he assembled using only a cigar box and some toy parts. Since then, he created 15 short animated films and one feature film. Years earlier, he had won an award for his film Operation X-70. He was known for his creativity and innovation, which is displayed in his film Taxandria which he spent 15 years creating in 1994.

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Servais studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent before courses were available for animation. He subsequently played an part in developing an animation course in 1960. Eager to share his passion, the animator founded the first school of animation called KASK & Conservatory in Ghent. The school now has two campuses in the city.

In the years 2018 to 2021, his work was displayed in a separate wing at Mu.ZEE in his hometown Ostend. He also donated his work to the King Baudouin Foundation in 2019.

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