HeadlinesSubscribe to the RSS feed
BBC Four has acquired the rights to Flemish TV-series Salamander for its Saturday Night programme, traditionally the slot welcoming prestigious foreign productions such as The Killing and Borgen. The twelve-part political thriller, sold internationally by Beta Films, is also set for a North American remake.
BBC’s Head of Programme Acquisition describes Salamander as a perfect match. ‘Salamander is a gripping, edge-of-the-seat thriller. It will make a fantastic addition to our Saturday Nights on BBC Four.’
Jakob Verbruggen jokes that he owes his chance to direct BBC television series The Fall to the Danes and the Swedes. ‘I have to thank The Killing and the Scandinavians’, he says. What he means is that the British television industry is opening up.
'There is an interest in the European way of filmmaking,' he explains. 'The Americans like European directors for their big genre films, because they have a fresh approach, and I think that the British, inspired by what they see coming from the Scandinavian countries, are trying to refresh their television drama. They want a fresh look, a fresh visual style and I think that's why they got me on board.'
Starting this Monday BBC Two will be airing the British-American crime series The Fall. Gillian Anderson (The X-files) and Jamie Dornan take on the leading roles in this five-part mini-series directed by Flemish helmer Jakob Verbruggen. Former directing projects of Verbruggen include episodes of Code 37, as well as the film version of the popular Flemish crime series starring Veerle Baetens.
Written by Allan Cubitt, The Fall is an astringent investigative drama that follows two hunters. One of them is the highly motivated and driven detective Stella Gibson. The other one is serial killer Paul Spector who targets women of the Belfast area.
Comedy series Crimi Clowns has picked up two nominations for this year’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival (9-13 June). The series’ theatrical spin off is also due to get a UK make-over, with several A-listers rumoured to be in the frame for the leads.
The first series of Crimi Clowns has been nominated in both the Best European Comedy and the Best International Comedy categories in Monte Carlo. ‘To be honest I was flabbergasted,’ said creator Luk Wyns.
Hans Herbots’ five-part crime series The Spiral is nominated for this year’s International Digital Emmy Awards. Rewarding creative digital programming, the renowned television prizes will be presented during the Opening Night festivities of MIPTV, the leading international television market (Cannes, 8 – 11 April).
A total of 12 productions from 10 different countries is in the running for a Digital Emmy Award, The Spiral being part of the section Digital Program: Fiction.
The Flemish fiction TV series Clan and Salamander are selected for the prestigious International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA 22 – 27 January) in Biarritz, France. Parade’s End, a Flemish coproduction with BBC and HBO, and the interactive TV series The Spiral are also selected for competition.
Both Clan and Parade’s End will screen in official competition at the fest. Both TV series are in the running for no less than six FIPA d’Or awards. In Clan, the four sisters Goethals plot the murder of their brother-in-law, Jean-Claude. He is the husband of their fifth sister and a pain in the ass just asking to be liquidated. But while planning a murder is easy, committing it is another story...
Flemish director Hans Herbots has signed a deal to be represented by US talent agency The Gersh Agency. A number of US outfits had been courting Herbots since the success of his ambitious co-production TV series The Spiral, which recently aired simultaneously in eight European countries. Meanwhile the series has also been nominated twice for a prestigious Prix Europa and remake rights for the US market have been sold to Sony Television.
In the US, The Spiral’s tone of voice and narrative style were highly praised. After being approached by a number of talent agencies, and holding a number of meetings in LA, Herbots finally decided to sign with The Gersh Agency, where he joins a client list including the likes of Werner Herzog and Paul Schrader. The director will be assigned two agents – one for feature projects (Frank Wulinger) and another for TV projects (Sean Barclay). Fourth Floor’s Jeff Silver is Herbots’ manager in the US.
Flemish actress Veerle Baetens is to play a part in the BBC’s upcoming series The White Queen. Baetens, currently to be seen in Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, will take on the role of Margaret of Anjou. The prestigious series is being entirely shot in Flanders and depicts a cunning battle for the English throne.
Seen through the eyes of three different yet equally driven women at the 15th century English court, The White Queen is set against the iconic backdrop of the War of the Roses. Baetens will play the role of Margaret of Anjou in the historical ten-parter, equalling seven days of filming and starring alongside the likes of Max Irons (Red Riding Hood) and James Frain (The Tudors, True Blood).
Hugely popular sketch show What if? has been nominated for this year’s International Emmys in the Best Comedy category. This is the second time that production outfit Shelter has been nominated for an Emmy with one of their TV series. Last year their monster hit Benidorm Bastards won both a Golden Rose TV award and an Emmy Award.
In total, four series have been nominated in the Best Comedy category, including the BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous. Producer Tim Van Aelst of Shelter commented that, even after the Golden Rose nomination and BANFF award earlier this year, they are still ‘as excited as kids’ with the international recognition. Read the interview with Tim Van Aelst in Flanders (i)
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’.