Jaco Van Dormael

Jaco Van Dormael

Belgian director and screenwriter
Date of Birth: 09.02.1957
Country: Belgium

  1. Biography of Jaco Van Dormael
  2. Belgian Director and Screenwriter
  3. From Clown to Filmmaker
  4. The Quirky Debut
  5. Success and Recognition
  6. Education and Influences
  7. Persoal Life
  8. Filmography

Biography of Jaco Van Dormael

Belgian Director and Screenwriter

Jaco Van Dormael is a Belgian film director, actor, screenwriter, and producer. He has had a remarkable career in the film industry, overcoming a difficult childbirth and miraculously surviving. He considers his life to be an unjustified and beautiful gift.

From Clown to Filmmaker

Van Dormael began his career as a professional clown and spent a long time entertaining children. He never aspired for anything more than bringing joy to kids. He made short films without expecting to make a living from it.

The Quirky Debut

At the age of thirty-four, Van Dormael finally made his directorial debut with the peculiar film "Toto the Hero." This film defied any current trend in cinema, yet it won the Caméra d'Or for Best Debut at the Cannes Film Festival, making Van Dormael instantly famous.

Success and Recognition

His next film, "The Eighth Day," was released five years later and was also a success. It received accolades at the Cannes Film Festival, including awards for the actors and a nomination for the Golden Globe.

Education and Influences

Van Dormael studied at the National Higher Institute of Performing Arts and Film Techniques (INSAS) in Brussels and the National Film School Louis Lumière in Paris. He specialized in directing plays for children's theaters and circuses.

Persoal Life

Van Dormael is married to ballet dancer and choreographer Michelle Anne De Me. His older brother, Pierre Van Dormael (1952-2008), was a jazz composer and guitarist.


- 1980: "Maedeli-La-Breche" (short film, won an Oscar for Best Foreign Student Film)
- 1981: "Stade" (report on the Olympics for people with disabilities, won the Golden Caduceus at the Rennes Film Festival)
- 1982: "L'Imitateur" (short film, won awards for Best Short Film and Best Documentary at the Brussels Film Festival)
- 1983: "Sortie de secours" (documentary)
- 1984: "E pericoloso sporgersi" (short film, won the Grand Prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival)
- 1985: "De Boot"
- 1991: "Toto the Hero" (nominated for a BAFTA Award, feature film, won the Golden Camera at the Cannes Film Festival, Audience Award at the Locarno Film Festival, César Award for Best Foreign Film)
- 1995: "The Eighth Day" (feature film, nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival)
- 2009: "Mr. Nobody" (feature film, nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival)