Luc Toutounghi (VC’80)
Luc Toutounghi (VC’80), the Head of the Stop Motion Department in Jilin, China, is a well-established stop motion film producer. Luc teaches the elements of storytelling, scriptwriting, marketing, and branding at the Jilin Animation Institute. He also works in the Animation Research Department as a Creative Producer for stop motion animations.
What happened after VC?
I had the opportunity to do a four-year finance apprenticeship with one of the most influential U.S. firms. I was able to travel a lot, mostly in Western Europe. After some time spent in the states, I came back to Switzerland and joined the biggest Japanese brokerage firm at the time. I worked in Japan for a while , came back to Europe, and finally moved to the U.K.
The corporate world gave me the chance to see and learn things to which I would not have been exposed otherwise, but I was becoming unfulfilled and unhappy with my work life.
I decided to step out of the world of finance and enter into the world of fine arts in the mid 90’s.
Through working and meeting with some of the most incredible people in the industry, I was slowly drawn to stop motion animation. I became a full-time stop motion filmmaker in the early 2000’s. In 2005, I was part of a big stop motion production, Peter & the Wolf, which won the Academy Award for Best Short Animation in 2008.
I travelled across Europe and Asia where I taught, produced, and co-directed a number of films. I also managed one of the oldest European animation studio based in Poland. Just a year ago, I received the opportunity to work at the Jilin Animation Institute, with 6,000 students in its animation department alone, in Changchun, Jilin province, China.
I would not say animation is easy, but it is definitely more satisfying. Animation provides the space to express emotions, feelings, views and arts in a commercial environment - I call it the animation paradox - that are otherwise suppressed in a corporate setting.
How did VC impact you, or shape you into the person you are today?
I would say VC gave me the unexpected. I learned a lot academically, morally, and ethically. Staying in the dorm allowed me to understand and embrace diversity with an open mind. At the time, I couldn’t see how important those experiences are, but today I realized how much I’ve absorbed and learned through those experiences. I can say that VC has forged me in a positive way.
Luc is now co-directing a film with Marek Skrobezki, whom he worked closely with for the production of Danny Boy (2010). The new film is dedicated to Chopin and made for the 175th anniversary of his death.
Stop Motion Portfolio:
Peter & the Wolf (2006) - Academy Award for Best Short Animation 2008
The Lost Town of Switez - Berlin Film Festival, Annecy Best Director First Film 2010
Danny Boy (2010) - nominated for the Academy Award 2011
Flapper & Friends - Best Children Animation Series - Central Europe 2014, China 2016
Ghost Sonata - in production, to be delivered in 2019