Award winning filmmaker & photographer
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, I have been told I started drawing before I started talking.
Being a visual communicator before anything else, it seems only natural that at the age of 6 I started ten years of Fine Arts education at the Academy of Fine Arts in my hometown. Having eyes that are trained to draw from life has proven an enormous advantage to observing and capturing the world around me.
Graduating from high school with a degree in Economics and Audiovisual Arts, I went on to get my Masters degree in Visual Arts – Film, from the Erasmus RITS College in Brussels.
Despite a strong education and work experience in narrative fiction film, my love for travel and my insatiable curiosity about the world and its people - as well as a growing skepticism about how these are presented to me through media and politics - led me to venture into documentary work.
My passion for photography has come to stand on equal footing with my love of film, and I started producing documentary photo series alongside the films I was producing.
After creating several documentary co-productions with friends, in places like Eastern Europe and West Africa, I started my own company in order to produce my own work as both photographer and filmmaker.
A reoccurring theme in my work is social, cultural and religious conflict in the many ways in which it presents itself. From orphanages in Russia and revolutionaries in Kiev, to women artists of Iran and Muslims in America, my photographic documentary works have evolved into artistic, sometimes poetic, expressions of exploration and kinship. There is an innate yearning present within me and my work for a greater understanding and deeper connection with those who seem (or are presented) to somehow be different.
Wherever me and my camera venture, from the avenues of Moscow, Hong Kong and Tehran, to the backstreets of Cotonou, Bander Abbas and Tokyo, I feel it is the responsibility of the documentarian to capture not only people and their plight, but more than anything also their dignity and sense of humanity.
My work has been presented on International Film Festivals, Belgian National Television, online broadcasts, two exhibitions and several publications. The past years I have divided my time between New York, Tehran, Russia and my hometown.
Sam Asaert – New York City, 2016.