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.
|Original title||Blue Meridian|
|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|
|Running time film||80'|
|Sound format||Dolby SR|
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)
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.
The 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.
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.
Earlier 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.
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.
The 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).
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.
According 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.
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).
The 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.
Last edited on 19 September 2013