An elder Maori relives, between dream and reality, the distant journey made by his grandfather during WWI

Belgium, 15" (2019)

Waka Huia, an animated short film

Charlie opens the Waka Huia. His ancestor's guitar triggers of his trip to Belgium.

Between dream and reality

Charlie, an elderly Māori, leaves New Zealand for a trip during which he relives, somewhere between dream and reality, the journey made by his grandfather between 1915 and 1917. The naive enthusiasm of the young Māori progressively gives way to disillusionment. When Charlie finally gets to Belgium, he discovers the true horror of war.

Meeting Maori historian in a World War One cemetery in Flanders Fields.

When Māori meets Flanders

The film is inspired by the story of Charlie, and elderly Māori whom we hosted in our B&B in Brussels in 2012. It is produced by S.O.I.L., Ambiances...Asbl, Luna Blue Film and the French speaking Belgian television. The short is financed by both the Flemish and the Walloon film funds. We worked with historian Monty Soutar, whom Philippe and I met in New Zealand, to try and make it truthful to the Māori people.

The animation crew of Waka Huia at work. Mathieu jadin and two interns from La Cambre.

A 2D short that suggests more than it shows

The loose drawings in black pencil of Waka Huia are inspired by Belgian illustrator Monique Martin and my sketchbook practice. They suggest things more than they show them. We tried to be very minimalistic both in picture and movement by taking as many elements out as possible, so that the animation heavily relies on the viewer's imagination. The short was animated on TV Paint by a small team lead by Mathieu Jadin, just a stone's throw from our B&B. Gilles Tricoire composited the animation on a whole range of scanned papers and Senjan Jansen's sound design gave the short its full scale.


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