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Driessen, Paul


Animator. Nationality: Dutch. Born: Nijmegen, 1940. Education: Attended the Academy of Arts, Utrecht. Career: Early 1960s—worked in animation studio making films for television, Hilversum; 1968—made his first animated film, The Story of Little John Bailey; since 1970—worked from his studio in the Netherlands with Nico Crama, and also from the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; 1996, story consultant for Quest. Address: c/o National Film Board of Canada, Studio A, P.O. Box 6100, Montreal PQ H3C 3H5, Canada.

Films as Animator:


The Story of Little John Bailey


Le Bleu perdu; Air


Cat's Cradle (Au bout du fil)


An Old Box


David; The Killing of an Egg


On Land, at Sea, and in the Air; Elbowing (Jeu de coudes)


Home on the Rails; The Same Old Story; Oh What a Knight


Spotting a Cow




The End of the World in Four Seasons (+ d)


By DRIESSEN: articles—

Séquences (Montreal), January 1978.

Skoop (Amsterdam), July 1978.

Skrien (Amsterdam), April 1981.

Positif (Paris), June 1987.

CinémAction (Conde-sur-Noireau), no. 51, April 1989.

On DRIESSEN: articles—

Cinema Canada, March 1979.

24 Images (Montreal), no. 43, Summer 1989.

Film a Doba (Prague), Summer 1994.

24 Images (Montreal), no. 80, December-January 1995–96.

* * *

Paul Driessen is a highly original artist whose work can be recognized instantly. His films have three basic elements which make them different from others: the drawings look like scribbles which could just as well come from the pen of a child; his stories are not for children but primarily have adult appeal; and his humor is purely visual. He makes a character out of a dot and plays with contrasting dimensions and fantasy to such an extent that they become ridiculous. Apart from these values, his graphic treatment of contrasting black-and-white tonal forms provides a vibrance seldom experienced on the screen.

Driessen feels he is lucky not to have known anything about animation up to the time he met Jim Hiltz in 1964, since he was not influenced by any particular style. Thereafter he truly earned the label "The Flying Dutchman." In 1970 he went to Canada and since then divides his time in commuting between the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Montreal, and his studio in Holland where he works with producer Nico Crama.

He recognizes the differences of the two continents. In Holland he enjoys its quiet isolation working alone; in Canada he likes the contact with other animators and the excellent equipment available. The unifying theme in his films is visual imagery, abstract cartoon ideas, and the mystic content of the stories. He categorizes his films as crazy tendencies in such productions as Cat's Cradle and On Land, at Sea and in the Air; short gags such as The Killing of an Egg, Elbowing, and Oh What a Knight; dramatic structures such as An Old Box, David, and Spotting a Cow. Visual gags play a significant role in all of them. Driessen states: "I like spending time on my back in the sun, dreaming up new ideas, a small but important part of my schedule. So little time, so much to do."

—John Halas

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