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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.’
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.
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.
The subject of Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire’s IDFA Paradocs-selected short documentary The Wave is a sensitive one: the investigation of a site thought to contain the bodies of men executed by Franco's followers in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.
At frequent intervals, Vanagt and Vermeire took still images of the site, first asking the forensic archaeologists to remove their tools and leave the frame. Edited together, these images become a time-lapse film in which the bodies slowly emerge from the earth.
Rain, which is competing for IDFA's First Appearance award, follows choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as she brings one of her most famous creations to the Paris Opera Ballet. The challenge is to teach her contemporary choreography, with music by Steve Reich, to classically trained ballet dancers.
“They start dancing aged eight or nine and their bodies are conditioned, whereas with Anne Teresa it's more about the individual expression of a dancer,” explains Gerard-Jan Claes, co-director of the film with Olivia Rochette. Compared to De Keersmaeker's own company, Rosas, the atmosphere in Paris was quite different. “When entering the impressive building, you arrive in a different, almost magical world with a strict hierarchy and rules.”
Five documentaries as well as two projects from Flanders have been selected for this year’s 25th IDFA. The five docs are Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette, The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé, Expecting by Fabio Wuytack, Snake Dance by Manu Riche and Patrick Marnham, and The Wave by Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire. Projects from two Flemish documentary makers –The Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez and White Elephants by Kristof Bilsen – are also selected for the IDFA Forum.
Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette features in the First Appearance competition and follows a ballet production from initial auditions right up to opening night. Producer is Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film. In Expecting (pictured left), which is selected for the IDFA Panorama, director Fabio Wuytack portrays an Afghan-Kosovan refugee couple as they struggle through their daily lives. The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé and produced by Visualantics is part of the Music Documentary competition and explores the rich, untold story of Belgian dance music.
Five documentaries from Flanders as well as five co-productions are selected for this year's 25th edition of IDFA (14-25 November). The five are: Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette, The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé, Expecting by Fabio Wuytack, Snake Dance by Manu Riche, and The Wave by Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire. Projects from two Flemish documentary makers, The Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez and White Elephants (working title) by Kristof Bilsen, can also be found in the IDFA.
Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette features in the First Appearance competition for first documentaries. On 25 May 2011, the world-renowned Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris presented Rain, in its first ever performance by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes followed the rehearsal process from the auditions to the opening performance. Producer is Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film.
The Flanders government has set aside €750,000 to shore up the production of games in Flanders. The newly launched Game Fund aims to support and encourage Flemish game developers in the production or development of different types of games. The fund, which will be set up as a department within the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), was initiated by Media Minister Lieten and Education Minister Smet.
Studies show that over 50% of people in Flanders regularly play video games. 'The importance of gaming as a medium should not be underestimated,' said Minister Lieten. 'Gaming has established itself in a firm fourth place, after radio, TV and internet, as a part of daily media consumption.’ As the gaming industry continues to grow, she added, it was important to recognise the importance of ‘giving this creative sector an additional boost and encouraging quality and diversity in both entertainment and serious gaming’.
The international participatory web project Diwans.org will launch on 29 September with an unique live performance. The launch takes place during the Sufi Night at Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The project has also been confirmed for the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival (18-21 October) in Berlin.
Diwans.org is a living web project that immerses the web user in audio-visual poetry inspired by the ‘Diwans’ poems of Persian poet Hafez and German writer Goethe. The universe of the site reflects an intercultural artistic dialogue and invites anyone to answer with their own sound and image creations.
Less is more in The Wave, a short film by Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire that makes its mark by leaving out detail that conventional film-makers would consider essential. It continues Vanagt's interest in the visual treatment of history and how people relate to it.
Text Ian Mundell
The subject of The Wave is a sensitive one: the investigation of a site thought to contain the bodies of men executed by Franco's followers in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. When bones are found, the exhumation continues with the same precision as an archaeological dig.