21st Mar 2023
It is with immense sadness that the Festival team learned of the death, on 17th March 2023, of the Belgian filmmaker and illustrator Raoul Servais, Grand prix for best animated short film at Annecy for Nocturnal Butterflies.
Belgian filmmaker and illustrator Raoul Servais died on 17th March at the age of 94. He won the Grand prix for best animated short film at Annecy Festival 1998 for Nocturnal Butterflies, a film that paid tribute to the Belgian painter Paul Delvaux in which he used an animation technique he invented himself: servaisgraphy.
Marcel Jean, Annecy Festival’s Artistic Director, paid tribute to him in a few words.
"With the death of Raoul Servais at the age of 94, the animation film community loses one of its historic figures. Raoul was one of the first members of the ASIFA (International Animated Film Association); he won the Palme d’Or for a Short Film at Cannes for Harpya, the Grand prix for best animated short film at Annecy Festival 1998 for Nocturnal Butterflies, as well as the Norman McLaren Heritage Award at Ottawa in 1998. He was a flamboyant successor of the Belgian surrealists; his work was in the spirit of Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. His desire to work with real-time material led him to creating impressive technical innovations including the servaisgraphy process, which he developed while working on his feature film Taxandria. This was a brilliant photomechanical process that was rendered obsolete by the possibilities offered later by digital technology. At the end of the 1990s, the Musée-Château d’Annecy held an exhibition entitled Itinéraire d’un ciné-peintre (A Filmmaker-Painter’s Journey), which celebrated his impressive career. His departure marks the end of an era and the thoughts of the entire Annecy team are with his loved ones."
The Annecy Festival team joins his family in honouring the memory of this esteemed filmmaker.