Internationally acclaimed Director Bernie Roux has joined Portland, OR studio Bent Image Lab, bringing with him a medley of talents in animation and filmmaking. The award-winning director’s international directing experience spans the world (the United States, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, India and Russia to name a few), though his journey to Bent started with a few beers overlooking a river in France.
“I met the talented and enjoyable Mr. Roux (Monsieur Red) at the old castle sitting directly over a river in Annecy for a brief lunch that lasted four hours. Several beers later into the fading light of evening, one of the nearby table guests then handed us his half-drunk pint, climbed over the rail, and promptly relived himself into the rushing water below,” recalls Bent Partner David Daniels. “That’s how the afternoon went into the night: uninhibited and to the point, while our conversation only got better from there.”
Growing up in South Africa, Roux studied film, illustration and 2D animation eventually landing an apprenticeship under two of South Africa’s top animators Riccardo Capecchi in 2D animation and Lindsay Van Blerk in stop motion. “I grew up with a love for animation,” says Roux. “There was never a doubt that it was going to be in my future.” After getting his foot in the door at a South African production company, Roux worked his way up through the ranks, until he eventually founded his own studio Lovebomb Animation. He later joined New Zealand animation studio Yukfoo in 2007 and then Stockholm’s Against All Odds/Passion Pictures in 2010.
“I have lived and worked in many countries and regions, from South Africa to New Zealand in the East, Stockholm in the North, as well as traveling throughout much of Europe,” says Roux. “This expose to different cultures and their stories all influence and mold the way I direct, animate and tell stories.”
Among some of Roux’s favorite projects is his latest short film entitled “This Crowded Thought” in which his story is told through stop motion photo flashes that he took while walking to and from work in Sweden. The film screened at “Best of the World” in the Hiroshima Animation Festival in 2012 and won a platinum Pixie in 2013. In addition to this Roux has won multiple awards for his commercials including a Loerie Award for his MTN spot, a D&AD award for his Doom “Bugs” illustrations and a Silver Lion for his 2003 PSA for Childline entitled “Lucy Moonflower”. Some of his proudest work is a few Schweppes spots created in his native South Africa.
“I did two 'Schweppes' TVC's for Africa. I felt that the mediums that I animated the film in [tin/wood/paint] expressed African street culture honestly and not in a 'beads & spears curio' way,” says Roux. “The films felt very authentic to the target audience and the scripts, and possibly the closest I have come to an original look and feel.”
Roux’s work is accentuated by his love of juxtaposition. His synergistic approach utilizing elements like paper and light/shadow, or tin and wood, gives his projects a unique edge with beautiful results. “I love Bernie’s sense of design,” says Bent Executive Producer Tsui Ling Toomer. “His immense knowledge of animation and his ability to marry different elements together makes his work fresh and original.”
Roux is just as pleased to be joining the Bent team and is interested in expanding his work with a studio that will “get me to think and solve problems in a way that would only be possible with their influence.”
“Bent's reputation as a leading animation studio that shares a similar philosophy of finding new ways and interesting mediums for each job is something that drew me instantly to them,” says Roux.
Roux’s talents are a lock for an exploratory lab such as Bent. The studio’s reputation is built on its creative approach and vast knowledge of anything animation. “Bernie has had a long career of creative problem solving spanning the globe, and proves to be at home with any medium, or mixture of texture and forms,” says Bent Partner and Executive Producer Ray Di Carlo. “Bent is honored and thrilled to have such a like-minded and versatile creative join its excellent team of unique and visionary directors.”
Bent Partner Chel White agrees, “Bernie is such a natural fit for Bent it's almost too easy. His prowess with meshing tactile arts with filmmaking makes him not only a master of his craft but a man after my own heart. It's a real privilege to have him on our roster.”
Source: Bent Image Lab