Karel van Bellingen’s short film ‘Agnes’ focuses on his grandmother of the same name, as she recounts her experience as a child and teenager in Antwerp as World War Two broke out. Notably, she tells the story of the day before she turned 15 – the day her street was hit by a V1 bomb and she was rushed to hospital by Canadian soldiers stationed near the house. Karel was inspired to create ‘Agnes’ by the simple desire to document a story he had heard several times whilst growing up. He notes: “As a child, you hear these things and accept them – they just become part of your world. It’s not until you get older and gain certain perspectives that it hits you; how otherworldly and violent and unfathomable reality must once have been for people you grew up within cosy, sheltered peacetime. It made me want to record the story as simply and purely as I could.” Never intending for it to become a film, Karel watched the footage and noticed that the current state of the world leant new layers of relevance to Agnes’ story – and realised he had to do more with the footage.
Karel is a London based director and editor who has extensively worked on short films, music videos and commercial content. He received numerous accolades, including Best Foreign Film at the LA Shorts International Film Festival (2019), at Thunderdance Film Festival, Hollyshorts, Global Awards and many others. His award-winning graduation film True Power launched him as a commercial director for major clients in the gaming business.