Lionel Goldstein is the pseudonym for Belgian directing team Koen Mortier and Joe Vanhoutteghem, co-founders of Czar Brussels.
In 2001, Koen and Joe decided to have Lionel follow a path that was different from the directing careers that each of them had established individually. With the absurd, near documentary style that they adopt, Lionel almost immediately won international acclaim.
In 2002, 2003 and 2005, Lionel won Gold at the Cannes Lions festival for, respectively, the Frisk and XBOX campaigns for Wieden+Kennedy London and BBH London and the Axion ’Braille’ commercial for Duval Guillaume Brussels.
In November 2003 Lionel was awarded the BAFTA for Best Director, which is the highest achievement for a commercial director Helming spots for Axe, Nike and steering the launch campaign for the Nissan Qashqai, Lionel’s reel has grown to encompass a range of comedy styles that belie an insightful focus on character, tone and setting.
Joe studied at the animation department of the K.A.S.K. in Ghent. He began as an animation director of commercials after his studies and in 1999 he joined Koen Mortier to establish Czar in Brussels.
Joe's distinguished style and taste for the surreal has won him the CCB film director award for 2 consecutive years with his spot for Keytrade Bank in 2006 and his public announcement commercial "Smoking animals" in 2007.
In June 2009 Joe received a Silver Lion - and recently he finished the new image design of the culture TV station Arte.
During his studies at the Film Academy in Holland, Bart started working as a video assistant to Thed Lenssen.
From moving cables, working as a production assistant and doing video assist, Bart quickly started to direct commercials. Bart’s professional growth to leading commercial director went hand in hand with the development of the most talked-about creative teams of The Netherlands.
Bart’s strength in his storytelling is his extreme attention to detail, his timing and his humor. This, combined with a big talent for directing actors, makes him one of the best directors that The Netherlands have to offer.
Lieven Van Baelen's first step into advertising was as a telecine operator and he quickly became one of Belgium’s leading colour graders. The next step was working as a director of photography for a series of commercials and music videos. Occasionally he still works as a DOP on his own projects.
He started out with the production of his short feature film ‘The Thread’ in 1999 and went on to win several international awards for the direction of his early commercial for Dexia ‘Club Brugge’, including a Eurobest Award and a Gold CCB (Belgian Art Director’s Club). He kept on evolving in his work and has directed for major international brands such as Heineken, Grolsch, Canon, Coca-Cola, Nissan, Renault & Ikea.
Kenneth Mercken was a national amateur cycling champion in 2000. On his way of becoming a pro cyclist, he discovers that his body is not responding to the illegal, yet generally used performance enhancing drugs. A renowned cycling doc offers him the only solution; a permanent growth hormone therapy, which however implies a high risk of cancer. Disillusioned with the sport, he turns his back on his boyhood dream and on a whim, enrolls in a film school.
In 2011, he graduates from the Brussels film academy RITS with The Letter, a short film based on his cycling experiences. It wins him the VAF Wildcard and is screened in numeral international festivals. In 2012-13 he attends the Binger Writer's lab and the Script&Pitch program of Torino Filmlab to develop his debut fiction feature: Coureur. The project will be produced by Czar TV and is planned for the summer of 2015. Kenneth is signed on to Czar where he is currently undertaking his first steps in advertising.
Jeroen graduated from the Dutch Film and Television Academy in 2000 and has worked as a director in commercials, shorts and comedy television ever since - for companies such as Motel Films, IJswater and Czar.
In 2002 he directed the short film Road Kill, which won a number of awards, including a Golden Film Award at the Dutch Film Festival. Jeroen is primarily known for his dry humor, which has been showcased in spots for clients like Planet Internet, Amstel and Belgacom amongst many others.
His awards include a Eurobest and several national Awards in The Netherlands.
After completing his film studies at RITS in Brussels, Koen made several short films, the last of which, 'A Hard Day's Work', won several international prizes. In 1999 he established Czar in Brussels with fellow director Joe Vanhoutteghem.
Besides advertising Koen has made two feature films: ‘Ex Drummer’ (2007) and ‘22nd of May’ (2010). Both were selected for international festivals and won several prizes. Koen has worked for clients including Eneco, Jupiler, Leroy Merlin and TNT for whom he directed the ‘Push to add Drama’ viral campaign, earning him a Gold Lion amongst many other awards.
Raf Wathion started out making eye catching and original idents (both as an animator and director) for Belgian TV.
In 1988 he took his first steps into commercials and quickly became a valued member of the Belgian commercial scene. From the very beginning he chose to focus on graphically strong, visual work, winning him a CCB silver award for his public service film ‘Sleeping Pills’.
Over the years Raf has combined his passion for music and visuals and directed a number of pop promos.
In 2008 he concentrated on commercial projects for Inbev, Electrabel and Bacardi and won an APPE award for best European spot as well as the Best Direction award at the 2009 CCB awards (Creative Club of Belgium).
In 2011 Raf won another CCB award for Best Direction with the ‘Crash’ campaign for Samsonite. Most recently Raf finished commercials for Infinity and Ford, both for the international market.