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Copain selected for the Short Film Competition and the animated short film Paradise competing in the Cinéfondation section ensure Flanders’s presence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Various other films in the Festival’s line-up also feature talent from Flanders, while several (co-)productions with Flanders fly the flag in the Marché du Film.
Invited for the Festival’s Short Film Competition, Jan and Raf Roosens’s short film Copain is about Fré, a teenager trapped between his conservative, wealthy parents and his working-class friends. Paradise, by Laura Vandewynckel, tells a story about people heading for a better place on different sides of the ocean; the stop-motion film is set to première as part of the Cinéfondation.
Stijn Coninx’s feature film Marina, based on the childhood memories of Italian-Belgian musician Rocco Granata, has been selected for the Cannes Ecrans Juniors Competition.
Each year, Ecrans Juniors presents a competitive programme of eight international films designed to appeal to viewers aged 13-15 because of the film’s central theme or because it offers them a different way of looking at the world. The competition is initiated by Cannes Cinéma, an organisation bringing together several Cannes-based cinemas. Marina is to have three screenings in Cannes, all open to surrounding schools.
Flemish actress Veerle Baetens has landed a role in News from Planet Mars, the new film by French director Dominik Moll (Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien). Since her award-winning performance in Felix van Groeningen’s Oscar-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown, this is Baetens’s second time on a French film set.
Dominik Moll’s upcoming feature follows Philippe Mars (François Damiens), a reasonable man in an unreasonable world. Baetens’s role in News from Planet Mars is that of an animal rights activist with psychological problems: she doesn’t like physical contact and is vegan.
Flemish director Jan Matthys - known for acclaimed series such as In Flanders Fields and Quiz Me Quick - is to shoot three episodes of the third season of BBC One's crime series Shetland, with Thaddeus O'Sullivan (Call the Midwife) doing the rest. ITV Productions is producing the six-parter for BBC One.
Matthys follows in the footsteps of Jakob Verbruggen and Tim Mielants, two other directors from Flanders who recently made the leap into British TV drama series.
Raphaël Crombez has been invited to Future Frames, a new programme curated by the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where he will present his fiction short Perdition County. In collaboration with European Film Promotion (EFP), the programme presents 10 promising young European directors at the Festival, which runs from 3-11 July.
Inaugurated by the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) and EFP, Future Frames is to have its first edition this year with 10 European directors lined up. The young filmmakers and their films will be presented not only to the Karlovy Vary audience, but to attending professionals and international press as well.
The Brand New Testament, the new feature film by Jaco Van Dormael, has been invited to the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes (14-24 May). A co-production between Belgium, France and Luxembourg, the film boasts on-camera talent from Flanders including Laura Verlinden, Johan Leysen, Viviane De Muynck and Johan Heldenbergh, plus An Pierlé in the music department.
Van Dormael’s surreal comedy The Brand New Testament stars Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde as God. Living in Brussels, he is a despicable coward with pathetic morals who is mean to his wife (Yolande Moreau) and his daughter, played by young Pili Groyne (Two Days, One Night, Alleluia). Frustrated by her father’s unacceptable behaviour, the girl takes revenge by posting the dates of death of the entire world population on the Internet.
Buddy (Copain), the new short film by Jan and Raf Roosens, has been selected for the Official Competition of the Cannes Film Festival (13-24 May). Paradise, an animated short film by Laura Vandewynckel, has also been invited to join the Cinéfondation programme of the Festival.
The Roosens brothers’ 15-minute short Buddy follows Fré, a teenager trapped between his conservative, wealthy family and his working-class friends. He manages to keep both worlds separate - until he falls in love.
The German-Belgian documentary Before The Last Curtain Falls received its American premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival where it won the Best Pink Peach Feature Award. Recently, the film also claimed the Grand Prize at the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal, one of the world’s most prestigious art film festivals.
In the documentary, German-Canadian director Thomas Wallner follows a group of Flemish transsexual actresses and drag queens, all in their sixties and seventies, as they prepare to shine on stage one last time. Their stories became the foundation of the theatre piece Gardenia, directed by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke, which took them on tour around the world.
Roel Reiné’s historical drama Admiral: Michiel de Ruyter is to receive a gala presentation at this year’s fifth edition of the Beijing International Film Festival (17-20 April). Co-produced for Flanders by Ciné Cri de Coeur, the film was supported by the Screen Flanders Economic Fund.
Set in the mid-17th Century, Admiral: Michiel de Ruyter tells the story of the legendary Dutch admiral and takes us back to the time when the Netherlands was one of the world’s largest maritime nations.
On April 17, Twilight of a Life by Sylvain Biegeleisen is to open the International Documentary Film Festival Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland. The festival programme also includes Battles, The Rabbit and the Teasel and the short film On Difference As Such. A fifth documentary from Flanders, The Colour of the Chameleon, has been selected for the Pitching du Réel co-production platform. Visions du Réel runs from 17-25 April.
Twilight of a Life is an upbeat portrait of a 94-year-old woman confronting the restrictions of her age, and the relationship she has with her son and the film’s director. Although doctors once gave her just weeks to live, she lived another two years. For her son, this became an opportunity to create a film about life, full of humour and emotion.