A new art form emerged on social media: the webcomic. This documentary portrays seven comic artists worldwide and their ability to talk frankly about their personal lives.

First broadcast date (Dutch television): Tue 17 January 2023 at 10.40 pm NTR on NPO2.

In real life I have nose
a film by Stephane Kaas

Among all the influencers, with their perfect beach vacations and muscular bodies, a new art genre has emerged on social media: the webcomic. Short, heartfelt comics that focus on the illustrator's personal life and depict serious topics with humour. The comics are often taboo-breaking and deal with subjects that are rarely discussed on social media: depression, racism, sexism and gender issues. The huge following of these cartoonists shows that many people feel addressed by the drawings.

Director Stephane Kaas portrays some of these young cartoonists from around the world. Wrestling with his own personal problems, he tries to sort out his thoughts in a disarmingly honest way through his drawn diary. Can social media also provide comfort and connection?

Against the backdrop of a pandemic throwing a spanner in the works, Kaas visits a variety of cartoonists in the Netherlands, Belgium, England, the United States and (online) also war-ravaged Ukraine. For example, Alex Norris (UK) is the person behind Webcomic Name, which he himself describes as a queer comic, in which the punchline is always "Oh No." Where Christina De Witte (BE) draws off her recognizable insecurities as Chrostin, Jackie E. Davis (USA) embraces her inner goofball as Underpants and Overbites - and that's how she draws herself, too, although, "In real life, I have a nose." And while the raw drawings of Emma Jon-Michael Frank (USA) are oppressively self-critical, Renske de Greef (NL) shapes and gives meaning to her perfectionism and gloom in a lighthearted way. Social criticism, mostly about the status of black women in society, comes from Whit Taylor (USA) and the bare drawings of Zhenya Oliinyk (OEK) offer us a confrontational glimpse into a war zone not so very far from here.

Using portraits of the various artists and their work, accompanied by witty voiceovers and animations of his own, Emmy Award-winner Stephane Kaas takes us into this new art form. Many people recognize themselves in the drawings; they draw strength from them and, conversely, the artists draw strength from them. In Real Life I Have a Nose is a comic tale about depressing subjects.

Stephane Kaas

Alex Norris (UK)

Christina De Witte (BE) 

Jackie E. Davis (US)
@underpants and Overbites

Emma Jon-Michael Frank (US)

Renske de Greef (NL)

Whit Taylor (US)

Zhenya Oliinyk (UA)

director: Stephane Kaas
camera: Christian Paulussen,
Diderik Evers,
Silvian Hettich
sound: Diego van Uden,
Lily van Leeuwen, 
Mark Wessner,
Kees de Groot,
Sam Huisman
edit: Leah Goudsmit
music: Peter Vandrie
sounddesign: Diego van Uden
animations: Iris Frankhuizen,
Mirjam Debets
titels: Paul Faassen
grading: Michiel Rummens
executive producer: Zelda Nieuwenhuis
commissioning editor NTR: Diana Tromp
producer: Corine Haitjema

A Perfect Day Foundation
Corine Haitjema
Zelda Nieuwenhuis

aditional information
produced by: A Perfect Day Foundation
in coproduction with NTR
with financial support of: NPO-fonds, Fonds21

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