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Canadian-Dutch Animator Paul Driessen Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Krakow

8 April 2013 2:30 PM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

I love Paul Driessen.  Very long ago (1977!) when I was head of acquisitions and international sales for the Santa Monica based short film distributor Pyramid Films, we had Paul Driessen's wonderful short animation, The Killing of an Egg (02'50 / Holland 1977).  We sold it to businesses who were holding meetings for inspiring sales, bolstering morale, to schools and libraries.  It became one of our best selling shorts.  In 2000 he was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short 3 Misses.

And now the Dragon of Dragons Award, the award for life achievement granted annually by the 53rd Krakow Film Festival to be held May 26 to June 2, 2013, goes to the Dutch-Canadian animator Paul Driessen.

The Krakow Film Festival is one of the oldest film events dedicated to documentary, animated and short fiction films in Europe. Among previous winners there are such well-known artists as Kazimierz Karabasz, Allan King, Albert Maysles, Werner Herzog, Stephen and Timothy Quay, Raoul Servais, Jerzy Kucia and Jonas Mekas. Last year, for the first time a woman - Helena Trestíková, the author of the famous documentary Rene, become a laureate.

Paul Driessen was born in 1940, in Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. He drew cartoons from an early age, in 1964 he graduated from the Art Academy in Utrecht and was offered a job as an animator at a commercial animation film & TV studio in Hilversum, near Amsterdam. In 1967 he was invited by George Dunning to work on his Beatles’ story “The Yellow Submarine”, which now is considered a forerunner for modern intertextual animations for adults like “Shrek”, “Futurama”, “South Park” or “The Simpsons”. 

In 1970 Paul Driessen emigrated to Canada and started a freelance animation career, working mainly for the National Film Board of Canada. Since 1976 he also animated and directed many of his films for independent producers in The Netherlands. Driessen's unique style can be easily recognised by the incessantly wobbling lines and smooth movements of his characters. As a narrator he often uses split screen technique, while keeping the story integrated. 

In the 1980s Driessen started teaching animation at the University of Kassel, Germany, after Jan Lenica. He continued till 2005 and under his guidance two of his student's films, "Balance" (1989) by Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein, and “Quest” (1996) by Tyron Montgomery and Thomas Stellmach, won Academy Awards. 

Paul Driessen has won over 50 international awards for his work. He was honored with life achievement awards at the animated film festivals in Ottawa (1984) and Zagreb (2002), in 1987 Asifa Hollywood presented the Annie Award to him for "his distinguished contribution to the art of animation". In 2005 he was given the Special Golden Dinosaur Award at the Etiuda & Anima Film Festival in Krakow. In 2000 his short film, interlocking three tales of damsels in distress, “3 Misses” earned him an Oscar nomination. 

Lately he wrote and illustrated a couple of books - “The Fiddle Fumble Stories” series, typical of the style which characterizes the rest of his work. Paul Driessen is currently working on a new animated short, a coproduction between Canada and The Netherlands.  

Paul Driessen Website


“The Story of Little John Bailey” (6', The Netherlands 1970)

Le Bleu Perdu” (7', Canada 1972)

“Air!” (02'00 / Canada 1972)

Au bout du Fil” (“Cat's Cradle”) (10', Canada 1974)

“Une Vieille Boîte” (“An Old Box”) (9', Canada 1975)

“David” (7', The Netherlands 1977)

“The Killing of an Egg” (2', The Netherlands 1977)

“On Land, at Sea & in the Air” (10', The Netherlands 1980)

Jeu de Coudes” (“Elbowing”) (6', Canada 1980)

“Home on the Rails” (“Treinhuisje”) (10', The Netherlands 1981)

“Une Histoire comme une Autre” (“The Same Old Story”) (3', Canada 1981)

“Oh what a Knight” (3', The Netherlands 1982

“Spotting a Cow” (“Het Scheppen van een Koe”) (6', The Netherlands 1983)

“Tip-Top” (7', Canada 1984)

“Sunny Side Up” (“Spiegeleiland”) (3', The Netherlands 1985)

“Traingang” (1'), “Getting There” (1') (Expo Vancouver, Canada 1986)

“The Writer” (“De Schrijver en de Dood”) (12', The Netherlands 1988)

“Uncles & Aunts #1” (2', The Netherlands 1989)

“The Water People” (24’ & 13', The Netherlands-Japan 1992)

“Uncles & Aunts #3” (3', The Netherlands 1992)

The End of the World in 4 Seasons” (12', Canada 1995)

3 Misses (10', The Netherlands 2000)

The Boy who saw the Iceberg” (12', Canada 2000)

“2D or not 2D” (17', Canada-The Netherlands 2004)

“2D or not 2D -The ShortCut” (12', Canada-The Netherlands 2004)

Oedipus” (13', Canada-The Netherlands 2011)


“The Yellow Submarine” (feature length / Tvc, UK 1969)

“Tiki-Tiki” (feature length / Potterton Productions, Canada 1970)

“The Happy Prince” (27', Potterton Productions, Canada 1974)

“Le Rejeton” (12', Onf, Canada 1977)

Anijam” (15', International Rocketship, Canada 1985)

Elephantrio” (9', Nfb, Src, Canada 1986)

Candyjam” (6', J. Priestly, Canada 1988)

Pink Komkommer” (11', International Rocketship, Canada 1991)

Paul Driessen Inside-Out” (52', Documentary, The Netherlands 2002)

“The 7 Brothers” (12', Kaj & Paul Driessen / CinéTé, The Netherlands 2008)

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- Sydney Levine

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