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Talk will be top of the menu at October’s invitation-only Flemish event, but otherwise it will be business as usual - with one small exception. It’s no longer just NeXT: in 2017, it’s time to CONNeXT.
Following last autumn’s highly successful pilot held just before Film Fest Gent in the picturesque Flemish city, the platform bringing together international distributors, sales agents and festival directors with the cream of Flemish filmmaking talent will be back in October with a larger line-up but the same friendly focus.
The event, whose slogan is ‘Connect to what’s new and who’s next’, will run over an intense and hospitable three days of networking, screenings and keynote talks running from October 8-11.
New Belgian TV drama Beau Séjour has been topping the charts in Flanders since the pilot episode aired on New Year’s Day. Broadcast in prime time on Sunday night, the series’ second episode reached over 1.5 million viewers in Flanders, a market share of 51.8%.
Following the buzz surrounding the series which won the Audience Award at last year’s Séries Mania in Paris, the pilot episode of Beau Séjour premiered to over a million live viewers in Flanders. Another 346,000 watched the episode on catch-up over the next seven days. The second episode drew more than 1.5 million viewers.
Nothing Is Forgiven, the new documentary by Vincent Coen and Guillaume Vandenberghe, has been selected for the Official Competition at FIPA, the International Festival of Audiovisual Programmes in France. The programme also includes Jan Eelen’s comedy series Callboys.
Nothing Is Forgiven is the story of activist and journalist Zineb El Rhazoui, who leaves Morocco for Paris after the Arab Spring. She finds a new professional family at 'Charlie Hebdo'… until the terrorist attack. She becomes the most protected woman in France, but the birth of her baby girl drastically changes her outlook on the future. And her opponents haven’t forgiven her…
New Flemish drama series Tytgat Chocolate is part of the line-up at Série Series, the French TV Series Summit (29 June – 1 July). The seven-parter, which is currently in post-production, will be part of the ‘In the Pipeline’ programme. In addition, Generation B will be in ‘What’s Next?’, a selection of programmes designed to reveal the series of tomorrow. Both series are produced by deMENSEN.
A road trip-cum-love story, Tytgat Chocolate follows Jasper and his mentally challenged co-workers at a chocolate manufacturing company as they embark on a road trip to find Tina, Jasper’s sweetheart, who has been deported back to her native Kosovo.
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.
New Flemish fiction series Beau Séjour has won the Audience Award at the seventh edition of Séries Mania (15-24 April), the international television festival in Paris. The series was presented in person by directors Nathalie Basteyns and Kaat Beels; scriptwriters Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens; and lead actress Lynn Van Royen. The audience at Séries Mania named the 10-part series joint winner of the Audience Award out of more than 50 series from all over the world. Beau Séjour is also set to air on Arte in France and Germany next year, a first for a Flemish series.
The Séries Mania festival received over 250 submissions from around the world. Beau Séjour was selected as the only Belgian series for the International Competition, together with seven other titles from Norway, Argentina, France, Australia, the UK, Sweden and Israel.
Last weekend The Natives took home three prizes at the awards ceremony of the Flemish Television Stars. The series from production company De Wereldvrede was voted Best Comedy Series. In addition, scriptwriters Bart Vanneste, Dries Heyneman, Wannes Cappelle and Gilles Coulier were awarded the prize for Best Script in Fiction, while Flemish actress Ann Tuts was presented with the award for Best Actress.
The eight-part series depicts the eccentric inhabitants of a picturesque village who are driven by misplaced ambition and vanity. When stand-up comedian Freddy De Vadder comes to town, everything changes.
From 29 April-7 May at Docville in Leuven, Belgian documentaries will be in the spotlight once again. This year’s National Competition has a distinctly Flemish tinge, with screenings including The Land of the Enlightened, Samuel in the Clouds, No Man Is an Island and The Invisible City [Kakuma]. Two Flemish documentaries - Wim and Truth or Consequence - will also receive their world premieres at Docville.
In Wim, filmmaker Lut Vandekeybus dives into the complex poetic universe of her brother, acclaimed choreographer and director Wim Vandekeybus, while Truth or Consequence by Sam Ostyn is a captivating and poetic portrait of a tiny town in the New Mexico desert that changed its name to the title of a radio show.
The Natives, the absurdist fiction series directed by Gilles Coulier, has been nominated for a Rockie Award in the category Comedy Series. Also nominated in the Reality section is Flemish comedy show The Idiots. The prizes are awarded at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada each year as part of one of the most prestigious competitions for television and digital content. The winners will be announced on June 14.
The Natives competes in the category Comedy Series against five other international titles, including The Big Bang Theory and HBO’s Sillicon Valley. In the eight-part series, Gilles Coulier depicts the deranged inhabitants of a picturesque small village who are driven by misplaced ambition and vanity.
After The Natives and Clinch, Flemish public channel Canvas is working on a new fiction series, The 16, which recently started shooting. Created by Willem Wallyn, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of a man in search of political power. The main roles are played by Michael De Cock and Jan Hammenecker.
Winning power in ‘Wetstraat 16’, the Prime Minister’s residence and the political heart of Belgium, is the ultimate goal for vice-premier Steven Kennis. But before he can become Prime Minister, he still has a lot of work to do.