Carlo Vogele, the Director


Carlo Vogele is a Filmmaker and Animator with a passion for classic literature, avantgarde theater, baroque music and greek mythology. Born in Luxembourg in 1981, he studied theater and film in Berlin, and obtained a Master degree in Performing Arts at the University of Paris VIII. Life as a young artist in Paris sparked his love for arthouse films, museums and classical music. After perfecting his drawing skills, he entered the film directing program at the Gobelins School of Animation.

Following internships in London and Bristol, Carlo finished his studies at CalArts in Los Angeles where he produced his graduation shortfilm For Sock’s Sake. The short won the school’s best film award and landed him a position at Pixar as a character animator. For 7 years he contributed to their major feature films, discovering the studio’s creative process and celebrated art of storytelling.

Besides his animation work at Pixar, Carlo directed his own stop motion shorts (like the opera-singing fish in Una furtiva Lagrima), screened and awarded in international festivals, which are available on his website:

Icarus is Carlo Vogele’s first feature film.

Director's note

The inception of the film ICARUS sprang from a trip to Crete where I discovered the fabulous artistic heritage of the Minoan civilization: labyrinthine palaces with blazing frescoes, a refined sense of design, goldsmiths’ creations and pottery of a breathtaking elegance…

Intrigued, I immersed myself into the history of this ancient world nourished by mysteries and fantasies. Names quickly resonated in my mind, diffuse notions of Greek mythology resurfaced, isolated stories came together: the vengeance of the terrible King Minos, the bovine loves of Pasiphaë, Ariadne’s thread, Theseus who confronts the Minotaur in the labyrinth built by the genius architect Daedalus, and finally Icarus, a fiery boy who flies too close to the sun. The fact that all these mythological characters meet or fight each other in Crete, in the palace of Knossos, occurred to me as a true revelation.

Very quickly, Icarus became the ideal protagonist. He avoids the pitfall of yet another version of the story of Theseus, who is the traditional hero. Since the ancient accounts give us very few clues about the life of Icarus, much of it was left to our imagination. Following this character from childhood to adulthood offers an excellent narrative arc (and can attract the sympathy of both young and adult audiences).

Unlike the demi-gods and royal figures of Crete, Icarus lives a modest and frugal life in his father’s workshop; he is completely unfamiliar with the intrigues that haunt the court of the palace. He is a dreamer, candid and honest, in a world driven by pride and duplicity.

Telling the story from Icarus’ point of view lets the viewer discover the injustices and cruelties of men along with the protagonist. This choice allowed me to find a personal approach to the myth as well as the theme of the film: young Icarus meeting the little Minotaur hidden in the palace is a new idea, it becomes the driving force of the young hero’s story. It is the union of two solitudes, the friendship of the bull-man who will encourage the bird-man to fly away.

Thus, the myth of Icarus is not approached from its classical and symbolical standpoint (the fall of Icarus being the divine punishment of the one who pitted himself against the Gods), but from a much more romantic angle (the young idealist who follows his dream all the way, escaping from the dark world of mortals). The final blaze in the sun, far from being a failure, displays the fulfillment of a life without concessions.

In collaboration with my scriptwriter Isabelle Andrivet, I developed a script that tells the gradual disillusionment of a young idealist searching for light. We drew from ancient and classical literature to comprehend the language and the tone of mythological characters, we ensured the linguistic accuracy of their dialogues, we played with rhymes and the musicality of words, we sought the poetry of metaphors and the weight of the unspoken. When it comes to the gods’ narration, the language is more relaxed and contemporary, peppered with witty banter.

Carlo Vogele