What I've Learned

Working with Amnesty International

Robert-Jonathan Koeyers
Sun 6 Jan

May 2017:

My name is Robert-Jonathan Koeyers, a third-year Animation student at WdKA. Together with Jamie de Jonge, who’s in her fourth year, and several of our tutors, we went on a crazy journey earlier this year to make an animated video for a good cause.

The Human Slaughterhouse

Made by by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers and Jamie de Jonge

At the very end of 2016, I was approached by one of my tutors (Cesare Davolio) who asked if I was interested in helping out with animation for Amnesty International about the terrible conditions of the Saydnaya Prison in Syria. Because an opportunity like this doesn’t come to you every day, I immediately jumped at the opportunity and said: ‘Sign me up!’ The fact that he even considered me in the first place was in itself a huge honour.

Working with such talented and motivating people really gives you a boost and fills you with a creative drive that doesn’t come too often.

That’s when the craziness started. I started off having to do the majority of the animation myself, but with the crazy workload and the deadline quickly approaching, we eventually had to ask another animation student to help out. The first person Cesare had in mind was Jamie, which ultimately turned out to be one of the best choices he could have made. Even though she and I animated separate scenes, it was inspiring to see how quickly she worked, and she made it feel like we could actually finish the animation in time. And before we knew it, we did.

The Human Slaughterhouse

Animating is one of the most time-consuming activities I can think of. But working with such talented and motivating people really gives you a boost and fills you with a creative drive that doesn’t come too often. I got to work in a space where your ideas and voice mattered and being ambitious was commanded.
Eventually, the animation got released and exceeded all of our expectations. It’s a surreal moment when your mom calls you out of the blue to tell you that she saw your animation on television or when you see that the film has been accepted at the Annecy Animation Festival. Even though none of us was expecting it to blow up as much as it did, it made everything so much more worth it. Not only was this a great experience to be a part of, but also a great way to work with people I look up to and collectively be proud of what we’ve achieved. I’d do it again in a second.

Robert-Jonathan has graduated from the academy in 2018 with profound and extensive research Here, that has brought him many awards. In January 2019 he and Cesare Davolio have created new animations and banners for the Amnesty International campaign supporting Saudi activists fighting for human rights.