Meet the alumni | AXEL ZEILIGER | Film Producer

20 Jan 2019
Meet the alumni | AXEL ZEILIGER  | Film Producer




What inspired you to enter into the Film industry?

Nothing original, unfortunately… The first film I experienced in a theater as a kid - and that was it. Movies always had a very special place when I grew up, until the age I began to wonder how they are made, who does them. I always wanted to be surrounded by all this.

It’s easy to pick models and references for inspiration, they are so many great directors, producers, technicians and artists in the film industry. Then you need to work hard and take chances.

I first studied Cinema at the university for a couple of years, the most interesting period where you learn your classics. But it was all theoretical, actually never had a camera in my hand when I graduated. Opportunities where more around teaching or writing, which I loved to do. But I guess I was fool enough to believe that it would lead me to filmmaking eventually. I bought a small camera and tried by myself, editing on my laptop. I knew nothing about techniques or a film set, hardly enough to actually make a video or find a job. I missed the skills!


What course did you study and how did your course prepare you for the real world applications of what you studied? 

After a few internships in documentary production houses, I took the Digital Video Producer course at SAE Brussels. It was a general program over 9 months, one day a week. There is no specificity like direction or production, you get to see everything.

I learned all that one needs to know how to actually make a film. Camera, edition, design, sound… It was very intense, but I got to practice a lot, and that’s how you best learn. After these months of training, I had to produce my first video from A to Z and that meant the world to me.

Right after the course, I had a clear idea on how to proceed. What equipment should I buy, how to elaborate on small projects to practice, communicate and work. I always knew I wanted to be an independent, and the SAE provided me with all the tools it required.

Then, of course, you enter the real world and try to make a room in there! You never stop to learn.

Now, I work as a producer in our own company, and even if I haven’t touched a camera in years, I have a pretty good idea of what each guy in the team is challenged to do. This necessary big picture is a skill I owe to the DVP course, for showing me enough of everything to understand.


What did you love most about studying at SAE?

The teachers were awesome. I had known university teachers for years before, most of them, was great researchers and scholars. But when I came to SAE, I remember all of my teachers were actually working professionals on real movie sets. They may have taught their knowledge “raw”, but it came with great generosity and actual experience in filmmaking. It suited me perfectly, I needed to trust their teaching as a real tool to work. Very inspiring.


What's the one piece of advice you got during your time there that you still follow today?

A teacher once said “Everything is very complicated. You don’t need to know it all, just to make it work”. Years later, I decided to focus on film production. All I need to know is indeed who is the right talent to do this or that and make the project awesome.


What have been your career highlights?

Leaving the SAE Institute, I directed two documentaries. First one in DRC for Amnesty International, in a rehabilitation center for ex-child soldiers. Second in Burkina Faso, on the tracks of an itinerary theater that shows silent films to the kids in the bush. Both of them ended on TV.

Then moving to Lyon I co-founded Block 8 Production, our film agency. Since 2015 we’ve been producing over 50 projects. We created music videos for artists at Universal and Warner,  and several awarded short films and documentaries. We also are involved in NGO video production and corporate communication.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We’re working on the distribution of “Everest Green”, a documentary film about an expedition decontaminating the Top of the World that we just produced. It’s been a real adventure to make the film, and not just the shooting in Nepal! It’s a huge challenge to produce such a project, that took us over a year. Now the film is touring in festivals, and we’re learning how to discuss with international TVs. It’s never over, there is always something to do! Like… preparing the next one?

CHECK OUT MORE about Block8 


What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful in their field?

Listen to your teachers and stay hungry.


Answered by: Axel Zeiliger

Course: Digital Video Production Certificate

Years attended: 2011

 SAE Institute Brussels

Digital Video Production Certificate:

This 4 months program aims to familiarize you with all video production’s techniques according to the standards of Television and the Web.
Learning these techniques will allow you to take charge, autonomously, the entire production chain, from writing to final exports (Web / TV).

Find out more about the Digital Video Production Certificate HERE!



Need more details?
Contact our Study Advisor Cristina Trifu: by e-mail
or by phone on +32 (0) 2 647 92 20 (Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00