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Animation projects from Flanders will take centre stage during the first edition of the Flanders Animation Focus at this year’s International Animation Film Festival in Annecy. On 17 June, 11 Flemish producers will pitch their upcoming animation features and series to potential co-producers and buyers. The initiative reflects the ambition of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) to stimulate the production and international promotion of animation from Flanders.
The Flanders region boasts a wide variety of high-end animation studios and creative talent, resulting over the past few years in various nominations and prizes abroad. During the Flanders Animation Focus, 11 projects, both animation features and series, will be presented to potential co-producers, co-financers, buyers and distributors.
Sum of Histories, directed by Lukas Bossuyt, and Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened both received their Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which ended on 4 April. The programme also included four co-productions with Flanders: Schneider vs Bax, The White Knights, Les Cowboys and the short film Splintertime. Finally, Flemish actor Jan Bijvoet was also featured in Embrace of the Serpent, in which he plays one of the main roles.
Lukas Bossuyt’s directorial debut Sum of Histories received its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Film Festival after premiering at the Montreal World Film Festival last summer. It is the story of Viktor, a brilliant young professor who discovers a way to manipulate time. Now he can finally change the past and help his beloved Lena.
Jan Bultheel’s animated feature Cafard has won the Grand Prize for Best Animation Feature at the 19th edition of the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht (HAFF, 16-20 March).
“Cafard is an atypical animation feature in many ways”, says director Jan Bultheel, “so winning the Grand Prize at the Holland Animation Film Festival is a real victory. Now, we want to convince the rest of the world of the film’s potential.”
Pieter Coudyzer’s latest animation short Beast! has been selected for the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (13 – 18 June) in France. The programme also includes the absurdist comedy Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service; student film Mahonie; and A Town Called Panic: Back to School, which was co-produced with Flanders.
The animated short Beast! by Pieter Coudyzer, a production by S.O.I.L., is part of the official Short Film Competition. The 20-minute film shows how the lonely existence of a scruffy homeless man is transformed by the arrival of a very unexpected visitor. It’s not the first time that Coudyzer has been to Annecy: his last short The Wake screened there in 2013.
Flemish animation studio Grid Animation has been awarded the prize for European Producer of the Year at the Cartoon Movie Tributes, an award they share with the co-producers of the animated feature Ooops! Noah is Gone…. The Cartoon Movie Tributes reward outstanding achievements by companies and individuals in the field of animation.
Each year, the Cartoon Movie Tributes are handed out in three categories: Director; Distributor; and Producer of the Year. Grid Animation took home the latter award, together with Ulysses Filmproduktion, Fabrique d’Images and Moetion Films, respectively the German, Luxembourg and Irish co-producers of Ooops! Noah Is Gone…
Director Jan Bultheel and animation studio Grid Animation have both been nominated for the Cartoon Movie Tributes, the annual animation prizes honouring the best of European animation. Bultheel has been nominated with his feature debut Cafard as Director of the Year, while Grid Animation and its co-producers on the feature Ooops! Noah is Gone… are competing for Producer of the Year. Opening Cartoon Movie this year is Robinson Crusoe, a 3D animation feature directed by Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen.
Jan Bultheel is one of the nominees for the award of European Director of the Year with his animation feature Cafard. For his feature debut, the director used techniques such as motion-capture and facial tracking to transfer the movements and expressions of the actors onto animated figures.
Jan Bultheel’s animated film Cafard has been selected for the International Feature Film Competition at the Holland Animation Film Festival, set to run 16-20 March in Utrecht. Four co-productions with Flanders have also been selected for the Festival’s Short Film programme.
The film is one of nine features competing in the Holland Animation Film Festival’s International Competition and marks the Dutch premiere for Cafard after festival screenings in Ostend, Busan, Montreal, Gijón and Arras. Arielle Sleutel produced for Tondo Films.
There was another strong presence from Flanders at this year’s International Film Festival in Berlin (11-21 February). Actress Martha Canga Antonio took the stage as one of 10 European Shooting Stars; foreign films starring Veerle Baetens and Jan Bijvoet were in the line-up; four film professionals from Flanders were picked for the Berlinale Talents initiative; and a variety of Flemish (co-)productions screened in the European Film Market.
Martha Canga Antonio was one of 10 European Shooting Stars in the spotlight during the Berlinale. The actress made an international impact with her debut role as Mavela in Black, a contemporary Romeo & Juliet story directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Previous Shooting Stars have included Matthias Schoenaerts, Alicia Vikander, Carey Mulligan and Daniel Brühl.
Robin Pront’s feature debut The Ardennes and Black, the second feature by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, are both heading north for the Göteborg Film Festival at the end of January. The programme contains another five co-productions with Flanders, while local talents Matthias Schoenaerts and Jan Bijvoet appear in foreign films at the Festival.
The Ardennes, Pront’s ‘Flemish thriller noir’ about two brothers on the wrong track, will be presented in the New Voices programme in Göteborg, a section of 30 films from up-and-coming international directors. El Arbi and Fallah’s contemporary Romeo & Juliet story Black is part of the Five Continents section.
Black, The Ardennes and Cafard will be in official competition at the Gijón International Film Festival in Spain (20-28 November). The short film section additionally includes Copain by Jan and Raf Roosens, while Zurich and Phantom Boy, two co-productions with Flanders, have also been selected.
Black, the second feature by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah after their debut Image, competes in the festival’s official competition. It is a modern Brussels-based gang story about 15-year-old Mavela who falls in love with Marwan, a boy from a rival youth gang. The Caviar-produced film has won the Discovery Award in Toronto and the Audience Award at the Film Fest Ghent.