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3rd Year Student Shortfilm

Machina Mortem is a shortfilm trying to portray the sinister spirit of the Western front during World War One. A soldier marches towards the frontline only to face the enemy in an unexpected way.

Machina Mortem


A style that fits

The Great War distinguishes itself by a rapid improvement in technology and a clash with the conservative military ideas. This brought forth and enforced the stalemate of the war, resulting in years of trench warfare on the western front.

The first concept of Machina Mortem developed during my internship at PolderAnimation. Gradually diving deeper into the history of the war, the earnest of the topic started to weigh on me. I felt I needed to portray this unique type of warfare in a way that was refreshing but also respectful. Many nights have been spend pondering on how to get it just right.

It was an important realisation to me that the war in hindsight often strikes us as meatgrinder, especially the Verdun Campaign. For soldiers on both sides it was an equally horrific experience without any real strategic gain. For that reason it would be wrong to demonize any nation or personality. Instead I tried to emphasize humane equality.



Individual | 5 months

Directing this film completely on my own has been a challenging experience. I was confident in my technical know-how, however conceptually I wasn't quite sure if I could pull it off. Directing a film and developing an artstyle was something I had never done before.

That was however exactly the reason for my eagerness to try. Storywise there are things I wish I had done differently or perhaps thought of something more cleverer. I have to accept my film may never do full justice to such a touching subject.

When it comes to history we often think in black and white, World War is no exception as it's one of the first wars captured on film. The war is often described as extremely destructive and muddy. The visual look of the film is a combination of that through a rough style that is inspired by colorized old photos.


Final note

A word of thanks

Making this shortfilm has been a great experience. Although the topic is very gloomy I've always kept motivated in the hope this shortfilm might spark in others an interest about this war. There is a lot we can learn from The Great War because of the many resemblances and relations to current world struggles.

I like to thank everyone who has in anyway contributed to this shortfilm. The greatest contributions are named in the credits. Many others have helped me through their feedback and insights who did not get their names in this film.

Machina Mortem has two amazing soundtracks thanks to these musicians!


Sjabbo Schaveling


Sebastien Romero


Bree de Roo

I like to specifically mention The Great War. An amazing youtube channel fully dedicated to educating everyone about The First World War. They have been a mentor and support in helping me make this shortfilm as authentic as possible. The Great War show covers all the events of the war but also goes into really interesting details. I love it. If you want to know more about this war yourself you should check out their show.


Website and Content by Jan Postema