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Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels’ short film Oh Willy… has won yet another two international awards. The stop motion short was awarded Best Animated Short at the International Animation Film Festival ‘Golden Kuker’ in Sofia, Bulgaria (7-12 May). It also won the Best International Short Award at the Chilemonos Animation Festival in Chili (8-12 May), making it the 75th recognition on the film’s slate since its world premiere at the 2012 Clermont-Ferrand film fest.
Only last week Oh Willy… took home Stuttgart’s Grand Prix, while the short film can now add number 75 to its list of international awards and special mentions. Highlights in Willy’s career were the Cartoon d’Or, which the short won in 2012, and its nomination for the French Césars in 2013.
Cannes has high standards when it comes to animation, so when The Congress was selected to open the directors’ fortnight it was an important endorsement both for the film and for Flemish animation studio Walking the Dog.
The company was introduced to director Ari Folman relatively late in the production, when he was looking for a studio capable of picking up work that others had found too demanding. He looked at examples of its 2D animation for films such as The Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of kells, and A Monster in Paris, but he seemed to get more agitated as the meeting went on. 'I thought: this is not going very well,' producer Eric Goossens recalls. But it turned out Folman was just frustrated not to have found them sooner. 'I've never convinced a director so quickly.'
Ian Mundell talks to the latest batch of VAF Wildcard laureates: six recently graduated filmmakers, selected by a jury, who receive between €25,000 and €60,000 plus coaching from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) to make their first assignment in the real world. All six VAF Wildcard winning shorts will be shown as a part of this year’s Short Film Corner in Cannes.
Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette’s documentary Rain will have its US premiere in the documentary competition of LA Film Fest (13 – 23 June 2013). Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s feature film The Fifth Season has been selected for the International Showcase in LA while the award-winning animated short film Oh Willy… by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels was confirmed for the short film program.
On 25 May 2011 the world renowned Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris presented 'Rain', its first ever performance of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Directors Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes followed the rehearsal process from the auditions to the opening performance.
The Congress by director Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) is to open the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes on 16 May. One of the studios involved in the production of The Congress is Brussels animation hub Walking The Dog, led by Eric Goossens and Anton Roebben. The film’s Belgian co-producer is Entre Chien et Loup.
The Congress is an international co-production between Israel, Germany, Poland, Luxemburg, France and Belgium. The film is based on the short story The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem and follows an aging, unemployed actress played by American star Robin Wright. The woman accepts one last job to make ends meet in paying for care for her disabled son, although the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider.
Robbe Vervaeke’s animated short Norman has been selected for Official Competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (10-15 June). Also competing are television series Picnic With Cake, a Flemish co-production, and several shorts co-produced with Flanders. Pieter Coudyzer’s The Wake is presented out of competition. The Annecy Film Fest is globally considered the number one festival when it comes to animation.
Fien Troch’s Kid, Peter Monsaert’s Offline and Roman Klochkov’s Natasha were the big winners at the 14th Aubagne International Film Festival (8-23 March). While Kid received both the Grand Jury Prize and the Award for Best Music, Offline scooped the Award for Best Script. Roman Klochkov’s Natasha was awarded the Prize for Best Animated Short Film. It was also announced that French distributor Mica Films is to release Monsaert’s Offline in French theatres this summer.
In addition to the Grand Jury Prize Fien Troch’s third feature film, Kid, also received the Award for Best Music, acknowledging Senjan Jansen’s original musical score. Kid follows the story of a seven-year-old boy who lives with his mother and brother on a farm. The fatherless family struggles to make ends meet. When disaster strikes and the two brothers have to move in with their aunt and uncle, Kid misses his mother more than ever and longs to be with her. The film received a special mention at the latest edition of the Ghent Film Festival.
From 6-8 March, more than 700 animation professionals from around the globe assembled in Lyon for the 15th edition of Cartoon Movie, Europe’s leading co-production platform. Louise in the Winter, Cafard and Pinocchio, three co-productions with Flanders, each drew full houses.
With 250 to 350 people gathering in the rooms, the pitching sessions at Cartoon Movie drew a full house, with the Vivi Film co-produced Louise in the Winter leading the list of 15 most-attended pitches.
Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown and Janet van den Brand’s short Rosa, Anna’s Lil’ Sis have been selected for the Berlin international Film Festival (7-17 February). Both films will premiere internationally in the fest’s Panorama Specials strand and Generation Kplus shorts competition respectively. Two co-productions were also confirmed: Flemish director Vincent Bal’s Nono, the Zigzag Kid, which will open the Generation programme, and Willemiek Kluijfhout’s Mussels in Love. Recent features such as Peter Monsaert's Offline and Gert Embrechts' Allez, Eddy! make their market debuts at the Berlinale's European Film Market (EFM). Other EFM entries are The Fifth Season by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, as well as co-productionsTenderness by Marion Hänsel, Kinshasa Kids by Marc-Henri Wajnberg, Pinocchio by Enzo d'Alo and Tango Libre by Frédéric Fonteyne.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is represented internationally by The Match Factory. The film is already a box office hit in its home territory with over 320,000 admissions (and still going strong).The Broken Circle Breakdown is produced by Dirk Impens for Menuet (Turquaze, The Misfortunates) and stars Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh. In honour of the Panorama Specials selection, Flanders Image is also publishing a special 'Talent Matters' section entirely dedicated to van Groeningen's work.
Matthias Schoenaerts, Michaël R. Roskams feature debut Bullhead and the animated short film Oh Willy… by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels are among the nominees for this year’s Césars, the French counterparts of the Oscars. The Flemish co-production Our Children is also nominated. The Awards Ceremony takes place on 22 February.
Matthias Schoenaerts grabbed a nomination in the category Meilleur Espoir Masculin (Most Promising Male Actor) for his role in the French-Belgian co-production Rust and Bone. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year.