Designing the cathedral from “The Pillars of the Earth”

Artistic research, Portfolio

In my third year at the Netherlands Film Academy, we had 5 weeks to research whatever interested us. I had long loved the book series “The Pillars of the Earth”, “A World without End” and “A Column of Fire” written by Ken Follett. It was actually part of the reason why I wanted to study architecture and engineering back when I was younger. Especially in the first book, the description of how three different builders (no such thing as an architect back then) imagined the cathedral of fictional Kingsbridge, struck me for its poetry and accuracy, without ever feeling like reading a history book. Afterwards, I fell in love with the tv series, based on the two first books, but the books were still my favorites.

As a Production Designer, it felt really interesting to study a building that is fictional but really accurately described in a book. I wanted to study other churches from around the same period and area to see what could have been. Since there were 3 different builders designing and changing this cathedral over a whole century, it seemed relevant to imagine what these designs would look like, what they would have in common and what would be different, following the storyline and the personalities of each character.

Here’s the power point presentation I made back then, explaining the different steps of my research, from the books to the proportions of the designs, through the research in real locations for historical accuracy (sorry it’s in Dutch) : ontwerpen-2-celeste-coupez.pdf

El Muerto

Graduation projects, Portfolio

For this western graduation film, I wasn’t the production designer (Klaudia Schenkels) or art director (Henk Pol), but I helped where I could, doing research about that time (around 1850-1855) and helping setting up some sets (amongst which a house and a camp in the wilderness).

The Underground

Graduation projects, Portfolio

“The Underground” was my graduation film. It is a 15 min long, sort of sci-fi film taking place in tunnels under the city of Amsterdam. There, according to this story, lives a large community of misfits and outlaws since the 70s-80s. Amongst them, the Reinhardt family, composed of the strong mother, her three sons and one daughter. The youngest son, Napoleon, has a form of autism that separates him from his family. He sees patterns in everything, even in how people act. However, his family doesn’t realise what a fantastic tool he could be against their feuding clan, as they believe him to just be strange and simple-minded. That is until they bring Rosa into their circle to find the feuding clan after their latest robbery. Will she get Napoleon’s and his family’s trust ? And will they be able to get their revenge?

This film was quite the challenge to make. We filmed everything in a set that my team built in school’s big studio (as in 1 studio for 4 different locations). I started designing the look of this film around mid-September and we shot during 8 half-days at the beginning of December 2018. So everything had to go quite fast. I was both Production Designer and Art Director for this film, but luckily I had an amazing team to help me. Henk Pol was construction manager, Milou Wegbrans was costume designer and Annika Lelieveld was set dresser.

The Director was Max Everett, whose brother also has a form of autism (although quite different from that of Napoleon). He therefore understood the dynamics surrounding such a character. The Director of Photography was David Koster, with whom I had worked a few times already, so it was nice knowing what to expect of each other.

As a preview, here are some stills of the film, followed by pictures on set and moodboards. The full film is still in the post production fase and will premiere in July 2019 during the Keep an Eye Filmacademie Festival in the Eye Film Instituut in Amsterdam.

Here’s the stopmotion video of the building of the set


Stills


Set pictures


Moodboards

Filmography:

Short films

Commercials


    History:

    • 2018 (May – August) Internship (overall assistent production) – 87seconds The Video Content Agency Belgium – website
    • July 2017 Sells (placing and selling bakery goods) – L’atelier de Séraphine Bakery – facebook page
    • 2015 – 2016 Student Job (selling tickets and food, cleaning and hosting) – Pathé City Amsterdam – website
    • 2012 – 2016 Student Job (helping with FR-NL-EN translations, accounting and moving the office) – Bureau Coupez Architect & Associés – website

    • 2015 – 2019 Production Design – Netherlands Film Academy (NFA) Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (AHK) – Propedeuse + Bachelor – website
    • 2014 – 2015 Architecture – Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) La Cambre – Horta – Bachelor 1 – website
    • 2013 – 2014 Civil engineering and architecture – Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – Bachelor 1 – website

    • 2007 – 2013 Secondary school (Math & Science, English immersion) – Collège Saint-Hubert – CESS (Certificat d’enseignement secondaire superieur) – website
    • 2011 (August – December) Intercultural exchange in the Netherlands – Program: AFS website – School: Het Assink Lyceum website
    • 2000 – 2007 Primary school – Ecole Notre-Dame La Hulpe – CEB (Certificat d’Enseignement de Base) – website
    • 24.10.1995 Born in Ixelles (Brussels, Belgium)

        • Main assets:

          • French, Dutch & English fluent both written en spoken (French is my mother-tongue)
          • European driving license type B (since August 2015, comfortable driving all types of trucks in all kinds of weather)
          • Organisational & research skills
          • Knowledge in the daily use of Microsoft Office, iWork and social networks, basic knowledge of VPython, SketchUp, Lightroom, Picasa, Photoshop and Adobe Première Pro and quick learning of new programs
          • Benjamin secouriste (First Aid knowledge)

              • Hobbies:

                • Drawing & painting (mostly self-taught)
                • DIY, sewing & craft (latest big project was a corset and long skirt)
                • Make-up (not professional)
                • Writing fiction (many novels started but never finished)
                • Music (2001 – 2014) music theory, choir singing, solo singing, transverse flute
                • Dance (1998 – 2010) classical, jazz, hip-hop, funk, aerial dance
                • Theater (amongst which school project “The taming of the shrew”, where I played Bianca and designed the set and costumes in 2015)
                • Martial arts Kendo, self-defense, archery
                • Horse riding (only the basics)
                • Scouting (2002 – 2015) both as a participant and then as a chieftain/cook
Uncategorized

Avatar mask

Artistic research, Portfolio

In my third year at the Film Academy, I made an Avatar mask for myself as a part of an exercise for school. I got a mold of my face and then went on to sculpt the desired mask over it. Once the mask was made (out of rubber) I got to decorate it. I added a wig (with feathers and braids in it), eyes (made of halved and painted skippy ball) and eyelashes. Then I went on to get photographed in it wearing a necklace and body paint. I finally asked my friend Anouk Regensburg to add the background in Photoshop.

Van Binnenuit

Portfolio, Short films

In my third year at the Film Academy, I was the Production Designer for one film: “Van Binnenuit” (meaning From the Inside Out). It was an interesting experiment, as we tried to visualise angst as a concept. The result was not completely satisfactory but it allowed me to better get acquainted with the cameraman who would shoot my graduation film, David Koster. As this film is the propriety of the Netherlands Film Academy, I can only show these stills.

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Commercials, Portfolio

https://youtu.be/94VU-feLVtM

At the beginning of my third year at the Netherlands Film Academy, I made two tv commercials for the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leyden (Netherlands). Thanks to this great experience, I got to see how to creatively make people (between 15 and 26 year old was our target audience) want to go to a museum. We had an extremely limited budget and timing to make them so I’m quite proud of how they turned out. The first one eventually got chosen to represent the museum. The other one couldn’t due to lacking rights.

Rouwclown

Portfolio, Short films

In my second year at the Film Academy, I made a tragic-comedy called “Rouwclown”. It was inspired by a suprising existing fenomenon: clowns coming to funerals. I was, with my co-student Henk Pol, the Production Designer for this film. We looked together for the perfect location and all the props and clothings. The director and cameraman were the same ones with whom I made my third year film.