the 7 brothers

Kaj Driessen

 

regisseur film & tv

 

the 7 Brothers premieres in Hiroshima

 

The 7 Brothers, the new movie by Paul Driessen and his son Kaj, receives its world premiere at the prestigious animation film festival in Hiroshima (7-11 August). This Flemish-Dutch coproduction interprets the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm in a totally different way and combines live action with animation.

The famous Dutch animation director Paul Driessen is this year's Honorary President at the Hiroshima Film Festival, the most important animation film festival in the Far East. On this occasion, 7 Brothers will be screened for the very first time.

 

The 12 minute animation short is the result of the first co-operation between animation veteran Paul Driessen and his son Kaj, who earned his credits in the field of live action directing. Together they tell the story of the brothers Grimm, working on their fairy tales, inspired by their everyday life. The live action and the animation sequences alternate with each other: the live action part shows the brothers at work and the animation bits are about the fairy tales themselves. Funnily enough, these tales do not quite corrspond with the ones we grew up with...

 

Paul Driessen had been working on the preparations for this project for a long time, but it took a while to get the project funded. 'It all started about six years ago', says his son and co-director Kaj Driessen, 'at the time it seemed like fun to work on something together with my father. But the project we had in mind proved to be too expensive.'

'The original idea was to make a film of about thirty minutes', explains producer Willem Thyssen of Cinété, who worked with Paul Driessen on three previous projects. 'So Paul rewrote the story, which was quite difficult, but in the end I think he ended up with something better. He abandoned the idea of a grandfather telling tales to his grandson and introduced the seven brothers.'

 

In the end, Flemish and Dutch co-production provided the solution to finance the project. The total budget of the movie was € 202,186. The Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF) provided € 60,000 on a total Flemish financing share of € 125,344. 'It is simply not possible to realise a like project like this for less than € 200,000', says Willem Thyssen. 'People like Paul Driessen set their standards on all levels. Because of the Flemish co-production, there was a certain creative and logistic input from Flanders. The live action sequences were shot at the beguinage of Lier, a small town near Antwerp. All the actors are Flemish and the music was composed by Bo Spaenc. Both Paul and Kaj were very pleased with the music from Bo.'

 

Lier seemed the perfect place to shoot for Kaj: 'I planned to shoot in Leuven, but then a location scout advised me to go and take a look in Lier. I was immediately convinced that we should shoot there. It had the perfect feel and it is not a place that everyone recognises.' Kaj shot the live action sequences after the animation work was done. 'I just asked to see the first and last three seconds of each animation sequence to be able to avoid awkward transitions. So I took a very close look at the initial frames and at the end frames of each sequence, I had this material with me on the set'.

Kaj is very proud with the end result. 'And it was fun to do, both for my father and myself. I really wanted to have my creative input in the live action sequences. And of course, I wanted to prove myself, because since I was a child I knew that he is a celebrated film maker. And we are both very stubborn people. But he soon realised that I have quite an expertise in live action film making. So that helped a lot in the discussions we had and in the decision making process.'