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Atelier Graphoui: Lending a Voice

Tania Nasielski describes the projects of Belgium's Atelier Graphoui, an animation studio that helps the silent be heard through pro-social projects in developing nations.

Images and sound, of dreams and of reality... Drawings, sculptures, paper cut-outs Which take form, come to life, speak in music or in words.

At Atelier Graphoui, we combine the plastic arts and sound design in the animated films we create and produce. We use audiovisual techniques and language to allow those who do not usually have the opportunity of voicing their opinions, to express themselves. Working with artists, adults and children, we encounter different peoples and cultures and produce films to reveal their points of view, their creativity and living experiences. In " The Hamdallaye Studios: Animated Films by Villagers, " Aline Moens relates her experiences in Africa while Christian Coppin discusses the drug awareness film that linked Bolivia with Europe in " Animated Coca: Understanding the Little Leaf."

Our History

In 1979, three animation experts set up Atelier Graphoui. The team expanded rapidly and film production diversified to include not only animated films, but documentaries, commercial advertisements, film series, and films using a mixture of techniques. Since we began, Atelier Graphoui has produced more than 120 films.

In March 1988, our workshop's artists traveled to Africa for the first time. Various other trips to Africa followed and led to the production of films. In 1989, the Graphoui team decided to focus on artistic projects and to use audiovisual techniques to give those who had something to say the opportunity to express themselves. Animation training and introductory workshops are organized in Belgium and abroad. They are aimed at children, adolescents, adults, socio-cultural facilitators and groups who are interested in the audiovisual arts. Each creative workshop ends with the production of one or several films.

In 1994, Atelier Graphoui was recognized as a NGO (non-governmental organization) for the projects carried out in developing countries. We provide training and an introduction to the techniques of animation, filming, production and distribution, plus, we provide the use of equipment.

Branching Out

Today, while continuing with our creative work, film production and training, Graphoui is in the process of setting up independent audiovisual production units in Africa. Within the context of our projects, we continue to reflect on the language of cinema and the role audiovisual arts play in cultural expression in general. We have developed a great number of partnerships and handle the international distribution of all our films within a network of cinemas and television channels, as well as festivals where the films have been awarded many prizes.

Atelier Graphoui is equipped with 16 mm and 35 mm frame by frame cameras, animation stands, 16 mm and 35 mm editing tables, video editing benches, computerized editing systems, as well as a fully-equipped sound studio. The seven member team handles the entire production process, from the moment a film or project is planned through its distribution.

The Team

Genevieve Antoine: Administration, production follow-up, distribution Christian Coppin: Sound unit, director Jacques Faton: Director Fabrice Jacqmin: Financial management, accounts Aline Moens: Children's workshops, director Tania Nasielski: Co-ordination, production, communication Patrick Theunen: Technical aspects, director