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Lieven Corthouts' new project, Emergency Exit, grabbed two awards at the 4th edition of the Millennium International Documentary Film Festival (31 May – 9 June). Corthouts' web documentary won both the Best Pitching Award, worth € 2,500, and Le Soir Award which ensures the documentary will be broadcast on the Le Soir website.
Corthouts' creative documentary and web project was selected out of 38 entries and eventually competed with five other web documentaries during the Pitching Competition. Corthouts already proved himself as a promising director with his previous documentary Little Heaven which was selected for IDFA 2011 and the Berlinale Talent Campus.
The Oscar nomination for Death of a shadow is opening doors for producer Ellen De Waele, attracting new talent and bringing offers for international co-productions. Meanwhile her company, serendipity films, is about to release its first fiction feature, 82 days in April. ‘It’s a very exciting time,’ she says. ‘We hope to start developing more projects, to grow and also be more active on the international level. It’s something I’m really looking forward to.’
De Waele studied journalism and anthropology, but found neither entirely satisfying. Journalism was too shallow and the immersion required for field anthropology was too intense. So she set out to explore the possibilities of using visual means to popularise anthropology.
Peter Krüger’s Films can be seen as fiction constructed from documentary or documentaries shot in the language of fiction. I’ve always been on the border between these genres,’ he says. ‘And I’ve discovered that it is a very interesting place to be as a filmmaker.
A cinephile from a young age, he postponed going to film school in favour of studying philosophy. 'I thought: I need content,' he recalls. After graduating he skipped fi lm school once more, setting up the production company Inti Films with fellow would-be director Peter Brosens. Although Krüger's inspiration up to that point had come from fiction, his first projects were documentaries. 'I had the feeling that with documentary I could immediately start making films myself.' This made him to look at the possibilities offered by factual filmmaking.
Last year’s Oscar nomination for Bullhead launched the international careers of director Michaël R. Roskam and leading man Matthias Schoenaerts. The film’s producer, Bart Van Langendock, has yet to follow them across the atlantic, but the nomination has changed his life in other ways.
‘Industry people like international sales agents and distributors are more eager to listen to what I have to offer now,’ he says. ‘Now that they know my name, and it’s linked to Bullhead, they are at least willing to look at new projects.’
Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s feature-length documentary film Behind the Redwood Curtain has won the Jury Award for Best Belgian Documentary at the 9th edition of the International Documentary Festival Docville (3-11 May). The film received its world premiere at the fest.
Behind the Redwood Curtain takes its viewers on a journey through the dark and eerie Redwood forest. Following seven forest dwellers - loggers, scientists, activists and Native Americans – their part of these impressive woods are discovered. There are no Walmarts and Starbucks here, just small towns and big trees. The ancient Redwoods have always kept the region isolated but now that excessive logging is encroaching, the survival of this unique habitat is under threat.
Bram Conjaerts has won the Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary for The Circle at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto (25 April-5 May). The award is accompanied by a cash prize of 3,000 Canadian Dollars. Besides Amsterdam’s IDFA, Hot Docs is one of the most pristine documentary festivals in the world.
The Circle received its world premiere at this year’s Hot Docs in the International Spectrum section of the fest, which presented a total of 25 documentary films. For his subject the director went to Geneva and surroundings where researchers of CERN, the European organization qualified for nuclear research, have been investigating the origin of mater for years now. Scientists therefore built the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) some 100 meters below ground, the most powerful scientific instrument with a length of 27 kilometres. In The Circle Conjaerts tracks the ring of the LHC above ground in an existential quest for inhabitants with their own opinion on the scientific experiment.
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.
Bram Conjaerts’ The Circle and Goudougoudou by Pieter Van Eecke and Fabrizio Scapin have been selected for the Doxa Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver (3-12 May). The Circle has also recently received an invitation for Hot Docs, where it will screen end of April.
The Circle revolves around the Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France, about 100m underground. A 27km long particle accelerator, it is used by physicists to study the origin of everything. The results and interpretation of the collisions of particles should revolutionise the understanding of the universe and how it began. In his documentary, Conjaerts leaves the scientific aspect of the experiment and follows the 27km circle above the ground in an existential search for local people with an opinion on what’s happening below.
Sien Versteyhe’s JUNIOR and Bram Conjaert’s VAF Wildcard film The Circle have been selected for the 20th edition of Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival (25 April-5 May). Both medium-length films are screening in the fest’s International Spectrum category, making them eligible for the Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary, as well as the Audience Award. The Only Son, a minor co-production with Flanders, is selected for the World Showcase section. Along with IDFA, Hot Docs is one of the world’s foremost documentary film festivals.
JUNIOR is premiering internationally at Hot Docs after a work-in-progress of the film had screened at the Belgian Docville fest, receiving a Special Mention from the International Jury. Bram Conjaerts’ The Circle was also added to the fest’s Official Selection and is to receive its world premiere in Toronto.