Ghent/Mechelen - On Tuesday 26 January 2021, the shooting of "Der Lange Kerl” - a new short film by Raoul Servais - started in the RV Studio in Mechelen (Berlgium). In a trench decor built in the studio, the confrontation of a wounded Frenchman with a tall young German soldier is filmed. The main actors are Gilles De Schryver as the Frenchman François and Matthieu Sys as the German Friedrich, alias 'der lange Kerl'.
Raoul Servais conceived the story, wrote the screenplay and drew the storyboard. Because of his age, the 92-year-old animator worked with Rudy Pinceel, his co-director, on the realisation of the film. "I direct from a distance, Rudy is the director on the spot", says Servais. Both know each other well because Rudy Pinceel followed Raoul for three years with the camera for his long documentary "SERVAIS" (2018).
The story of "Der Lange Kerl" is set (like Raoul's previous work "Tank" from 2015) on the battlefield during the First World War. The approximately 13-minute film uses both ordinary film footage that is digitally edited afterwards, as well as animated film. Producer Creative Conspiracy (CC) in Ghent (Belgium) is responsible for the 'live' recordings, while the animation is performed by Tchack in Lille, in the north of France.
The internationally renowned composer and conductor Dirk Brossé, who is not a novice when it comes to film music, wrote the music for "Der Lange Kerl".
Gilles De Schryver (36), who plays the role of François, is known from the film "Hasta la vista" and the TV series "Code 37" and "Tom & Harry". His opposite Matthieu Sys (32), who plays the 'lange Kerl' Friedrich, previously appeared in the TV series "In Vlaamse velden", "Amigo's" and "Black-out".
"Der Lange Kerl" is Servais' 15th animated short film. He also made the long film "Taxandria" (1994), a mix of ordinary film images and animation. The films of the "magician of Ostend" have won more than 60 awards, including the Golden Palm in Cannes for "Harpya" (1979). Raoul Servais is also the founder of the animation film department of the KASK in Ghent. Since 2018, a separate wing has been dedicated to the oeuvre of the painter-cinematographer-animation pioneer at Mu.ZEE (Ostend).
"Der Lange Kerl" is a majoritarian Belgian co-production between Creative Conspiracy (CC) in Ghent and Tchack in Lille (France) with support from the Flemish Audiovisual Fund, the Belgian Tax Shelter and Pictanovo, the film support fund of the French region of Hauts-de-France. The aim is to screen the short film for the first time in October 2021.