Biography

Kaat Beels

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From the Flanders (i) magazine

Death in the family

The story of the new hit TV series Clan centres on the five Goethals sisters, one of whom has married the detestable Jean-Claude Delcorps. The other four decide that it would be better for all concerned if their brother-in-law were dead. In the first episode we see him lying in a coffin, so it seems they get their wish, but this still leaves a lot of unanswered questions. ‘It’s a mystery,’ explains Malin-Sarah Gozin, the show’s creator. ‘Clan starts out as why-and-how-did-it-happen, rather than a whodunit.

Text Ian Mundell | Portrait Bart Dewaele

clanwomenAll of us have murderous thoughts from time to time, but FIPA selected Clan takes them one step further. 'Everybody thinks: “oh, I could kill that person!”,' explains Nathalie Basteyns, co-director of the series. 'And what they think, we show!' The series was born from one of those idle thoughts that just won't go away.

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Published on Thursday 23 May 2013

Heartbreak Hotel

Summer in the city. A hotel. A wedding. A woman in love. A deceived husband. An estranged daughter. A dying mother. A lost child. Fitting all of this and more into one movie was the challenge director Kaat Beels accepted for her debut feature, Hotel Swooni. Here she explains to us why.

Text Ian Mundell Portrait Bart Dewaele

Kaat Beels'In the beginning I didn't hesitate about choosing a multi-plot, but while making it I started to think: "Oh my God, this is a difficult job!"' she says. 'You have less time to develop characters and all the stories have to mingle together. But I really enjoyed making it.'

The decision to work on a film with multiple plot lines dates back half a decade to a meeting with the writer, Annelies Verbeke. At that point Beels had an award-winning student short to her name, Bedtime Stories, an episode in the three-part featureBruxelles, mon amour, and further short film, Cologne. Producer Peter Bouckaert had seen her work and suggested the meeting with Verbeke.

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Published on Friday 29 July 2011

Playing the invader

Actor Isaka Sawadogo and director Nicolas Provost were both a long way from home when they met in Oslo in 2003. They channelled their common experience of living in Norway into the short film Exoticore, whose success led to a series of feature film roles for Sawadogo, all with a Flemish connection. The most recent examples are the Toronto selected Hotel Swooni by Kaat Beels and The Invader, Provost’s feature debut which is also invited to Venice.

Text: Ian Mundell; Portrait: Bart Dewaele

Isaka SawadogoSawadogo has acted on film and TV in Norway and Africa, but his major cinema roles all spring from his first encounter with Provost in Oslo. The phone call came out of the blue, asking Sawadogo if he was interested in appearing in a short film that Provost was making on a shoestring budget before returning to Brussels. The director wanted to say something about the difficulty he had experienced integrating in Norwegian society over nearly a decade living in the country. ‘The story is the same one that all strangers in Norway experience,’ Sawadogo says. The idea created an immediate connection between them. ‘We had the same feeling about Norway. Not anywhere, but Norway in particular.’ In Exoticore, Sawadogo plays an African man working as a driver on the Oslo subway, whose friendly advances to workmates and the people he meets in daily life are either brushed aside or dismissed with outright hostility. Playing up to people’s stereotyped view is no more successful, and finally he is driven to extravagant acts of revolt and passive acceptance. The film took just a few days to shoot and then Provost went away to edit the images. When it was finished in 2004 it started to appear in film festivals, winning prizes for its leading actor. ‘People saw it and contacted me about long film roles,’ Sawadogo says, ‘and they still do now.’

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Published on Thursday 28 July 2011

Under the Influence: Kaat Beels

Kaat Beels grew up in the grip of stories. 'That is still my main motivation. To tell stories and discover other worlds,' she tells Ian Mundell.

Director Kaat BeelsWhen she was growing up, films held a powerful attraction. 'As a child, most of the times I saw a movie I became so caught up by the story that I wanted to be a part of it,' she recalls 'And my naive idea was that if I was making the movie, I would be in the story.

'Her early viewing combined European children's films, such as the Astrid Lindgren adaptation The Brothers Lionheart which she saw at a specialist cinema club, with Hollywood movies on Saturday afternoon TV. 'When I was in my mid-teens I became more interested in the 'real thing' and came to watch Krzysztof Kieslowski and David Lynch. Hal Hartley was also very popular.'

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Published on Thursday 27 January 2011

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