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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.’
Wouter Bouvijn’s short film Crossroads has been selected as one of the winners in the Student Academy Awards competition. Crossroads made it as one of the three finalists selected out of nine nominees in the Foreign Film category. Because of the selection, Bouvijn will be invited to Los Angeles to attend a week of industry and networking events prior to the awards ceremony on June 8. There it will become clear if the short from Flanders has won the bronze, silver or gold medal as Best Foreign Film. It’s the first time in the history of the ‘Student Oscars’ that an entry from a Flemish film school reaches the finals.
Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown and Alex van Warmerdam’s feature Borgman, a co-production with Flanders through Epidemic, are selected to compete in the official competition of this year’s Sydney Film Festival (5-16 June). The Sydney fest is one of the world’s longest-running festivals, its official competition presenting the Sydney Film Prize and $60,000 in cash.
The Centre National du Cinéma (CNC), the French governmental institution supporting, promoting and preserving film productions, has awarded Tom Van Avemaet’s short film Death of a Shadow with a ‘Prix de Qualité’. Attached to the quality label comes a cash prize worth 5,000 euros, to be divided among the producers and the director of the film. Another cash prize of 2,000 euros goes to composer Raf Keunen who wrote the original score. Earlier this year Death of a Shadow was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Live Action Film.
By presenting the quality label, the CNC wishes to award artistic and technical performances in short films. Each year, an assembled committee of eight members watches every qualified film and then advises the president of the CNC, who has the final decision.
Acting talent from Flanders will be all over the place at this year's Cannes. A staggering seven Flemish actors star in films that are shown in the Fest's Official Selection: Matthias Schoenaerts stars alongside Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard and Clive Owen in Guillaume Canet’s Out of Competition entry Blood Ties. Jan Bijvoet, Jeroen Perceval, Tom Dewispelaere and Gene Bervoets feature in Alex van Warmerdam’s Official Competition entry Borgman. Johan Leysen plays in François Ozon's Jeune et Jolie, also presented in Competition. Finally, Wim Willaert takes the lead role in Gilles Coulier’s short Mont Blanc, which is also competing for a Golden Palm.
Actor Wim Willaert and director Gilles Coulier are no newcomers to Cannes. Willaert was also cast for Gilles Coulier’s earlier short Iceland which made it into 2010's Cannes Cinéfondation student competition. Willaert also stars in Offline by Peter Monsaert which Lumiere/Lunanime presents at the Market. Mont Blanc is produced by Dirk Impens (of the award-winning The Broken Circle Breakdown which also screens at the Market) for Menuet.
Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels’ short film Oh Willy… has won yet another two international awards. The stop motion short was awarded Best Animated Short at the International Animation Film Festival ‘Golden Kuker’ in Sofia, Bulgaria (7-12 May). It also won the Best International Short Award at the Chilemonos Animation Festival in Chili (8-12 May), making it the 75th recognition on the film’s slate since its world premiere at the 2012 Clermont-Ferrand film fest.
Only last week Oh Willy… took home Stuttgart’s Grand Prix, while the short film can now add number 75 to its list of international awards and special mentions. Highlights in Willy’s career were the Cartoon d’Or, which the short won in 2012, and its nomination for the French Césars in 2013.
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.
The Zigzag Kid by Vincent Bal has won the European Young Audience Award after 12-to-14-year-olds from nine European countries casted their vote for one of the three nominated youth films. The Zigzag Kid, a Dutch-Belgian co-production quickly surfaced as the absolute favourite by grabbing the highest scores in every country. Issued by the European Film Academy (EFA), it’s the second time the Young Audience Award was presented.
On May 6 the nine partnering European countries organised a Young Audience Film Day for the second year in a row. An audience of 12-to-14-year-olds got the chance to watch EFA’s three nominated films and to vote for their favourite. Also in the running was the Franco-Belgian animation feature The Suicide Shop as well as the German film UPSIDEdown.
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.
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.