EN - Following the Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois to Venice, Louisiana, Blue Meridian is a captivating journey through the dilapidated and worn out Deep South of the United States of America. A cinematographic encounter with people living among the traces of natural disasters, economic decline and a turbulent history. The Mississippi River flows both through the Deep South and the imagination of the American nation; it draws the border between the East and the West of the country, but also the division between the North and the South.

As a blue meridian, it represents the complex relation between place and identity in North America. The film portrays people living in the decay of semi abandoned places, who try to rebuild, preserve and survive, in an attempt to take a stand in their land and its history. Flooding, civil rights movement riots, racism, real estate speculation have caused people to leave these towns and cities. Blue Meridian tells the story of their endeavors to make the American promises true. A critical but emphatic look on America.

FR - Suivant la rivière Mississippi en partant de Cairo et en passant par l’Illinois, Venice et la Louisiane, Blue Meridian est un voyage captivant à travers le Sud profond délabré et érodé des Etats-Unis. Une rencontre cinématographique avec des personnes vivant dans les traces de catastrophes naturelles, du déclin économique et de l’histoire turbulente. La rivière Mississippi traverse à la fois le Sud profond et l’imagination de la nation américaine. Elle dessine la frontière entre l’Est et l’Ouest du pays, mais aussi entre le Nord et le Sud.

Comme un méridien bleu, elle représente une relation complexe entre l’espace et l’identité au Nord de l’Amérique. Le film dresse le portrait de personnes vivant dans les ruines d’endroits à moitié abandonnés, qui essaient de reconstruire, préserver et survivre, dans le but de prendre une position face à leur pays et son histoire. Les inondations, émeutes de la Guerre civile, le racisme, la spéculation de l’Etat,... ont forcé ces personnes à quitter les villes et villages. Blue Meridian raconte l’histoire de leurs efforts pour rentre le rêve américain réel. Un regard critique mais aussi empathique sur l’Amérique.


Title Blue Meridian
Original title Blue Meridian
Original version English
Status Completed
Category Docs
Year of production 2010
World première / first public presentation 2010-09-24


Photography Fairuz, Sofie Benoot
Editing Nico Leunen, Tom Denoyette, Sofie Benoot
Sound Kwinten Van Laethem, Senjan Jansen

Technical specs

Running time film 80'
Release format HD
Aspect ratio 16:9
Sound format Dolby SR
Colour Colour


Supported by

Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, Centre de l'Audiovisuel à Bruxelles, FIDMarseille, Canvas, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté Française de Belgique, et des Télédistributeurs Wallons, Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel


2010: Beursschouwburg Brussels Screening (BE)

2009: Courtisane Festival Gent (BE) / International Documentary Film Festival São Paulo/Rio de Janeiro (BR) / BAFICI Buenos Aires (AR) / Visions du Réel: Marché Nyon (FR) / Cinema Zuid Antwerpen (BE) / kc Nona Mechelen (BE)


2009: FIDlab Award (FIDlab Marseille)

Abu Dhabi and Montréal invite Rivers Return

Joe Vanhoutteghem’s short film Rivers Return has been confirmed for the line-up of both the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (11-20 October) and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal (10-21 October). Since its international premiere at Locarno, Rivers Return has generated quite a lot of interest abroad.

Still from Joe Vanhoutteghem's Rivers ReturnThe Festival du Nouveau Cinéma also selected Sofie Benoot’s Blue Meridian (Panorama International), Herman Asselberghs’s Speech Act (FNC Lab) and minority co-production Our Children by Joachim Lafosse (Special Presentation). At Abu Dhabi, Rivers Return (pictured left) is accompanied in the festival line-up by minority co-production Pinocchio by Enzo d’Alo, which screens in the Showcase section.

Published on Friday 28 September 2012

Flanders docs prominent at Margaret Mead

The Margaret Mead Film Festival (10-13 Nov) in New York has confirmed three Flemish documentaries for its line-up. Both Lotte Stoops’ Grande Hotel, which has the honour of opening the Fest, and Sofie Benoot’s Blue Meridian are selected for the ‘Filmmaker in Person’ programme. Kristof Bilsen’s White Elephant is screening in the shorts programme.

Still from Sofie Benoot's Blue MeridianEarlier this year Grande Hotel had its international debut at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. From there it went on to be selected for the prestigious Hot Docs competition in Canada where it received an Honourable Mention. Months later, the film is still popular on the festival circuit as evidenced by the prestigious opening of the Margaret Mead Festival and selections for Silver Docs.

Published on Wednesday 2 November 2011

Local fests add Flemish flavour to line-ups

May promises to be a busy month for Flemish docs and shorts. Both the Docville International Documentary Festival in Leuven (29 April-7 May) and the Brussels Short Film Festival (28 April-8 May) are scheduling a strong selection of Flemish titles. With attention for Flemish productions on the rise internationally, indigenous fests are following course.

Antwerp Central selected for DocvilleThe seventh edition of documentary fest Docville is showcasing an ambitious programme, with yet to be released films, previews and one-off screenings. Among the 70 selected docs are a number of Flemish highlights such as Grande Hotel by Lotte Stoops and Waidmannsheil by Klaas Boelen, which were both selected for Hot Docs this year, as well as Peter Krüger’s creative documentary, Antwerp Central, which recently won the Grand Prix at the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA).

Published on Friday 29 April 2011

Desert Cantos at MIPDoc

Desert Cantos, a new documentary project by production company Off World, has been selected for the co-production challenge pitch at this year's MIPtv (4-7 April) in Cannes. Desert Cantos will take on five other documentary projects in this pitching competition.

Sofie Benoot's Blue MeridianAccording to MIPtv, their MIPDoc competition is only for the most adventurous and inspiring documentary programmes. Director Sofie Benoot (Blue Meridian, Fronterismo) and producer Eric Goossens are attending to pitch the project.

Published on Tuesday 5 April 2011

Blue Meridian takes off at It's All True

Blue Meridian, the feature-length documentary by Sofie Benoot (Fronterismo) is to get its international premiere at this year's 16th It's All True International Documentary Film Festival in Brazil (31 March-10 April). The film has been selected for the International Competition of the fest where it is competing against 11 other titles. After its premiere, it will go on to the Buenos Aires Festival International De Cine Independiente (BAFICI: 6-17 April) and the Visions du Réel docs fair. In Belgium, Blue Meridian will debut at the Courtisane Festival in Ghent (30 March-3 April).

Blue MeridianThe It's All True festival describes Blue Meridian: 'Travelling through the south of the USA, the Belgian filmmaker investigates the new identity of a world power confronted by disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the world economic crisis.' The documentary road movie has been selected for the International Feature and Medium-Length Competition Program where 12 renowned documentaries will be screened, presenting several award-winning films. At a project stage, Blue Meridian won the FIDlab Award in Marseille.

Published on Monday 21 March 2011

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Last edited on 19 September 2013

Short info

Director Sofie Benoot
Producers Marie Logie
Writers Sofie Benoot

Auguste Orts
Marie Logie
Aalststraat 7-11
1000 Brussels
T +32 2 550 03 69