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Belgian films made in Flanders corner the market and bring home the prizes.
‘Talent Matters’ is the familiar slogan for promoting Belgian films made in Flanders. And talent certainly matters for Belgian audiences, who turned out in impressive numbers for local films in 2013.
At home, almost two million moviegoers bought tickets to Flemish films in 2013 – a 17% increase on 2012. More impressively still, over three quarters of the national admissions for Belgian films were for movies made in Flanders.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I – much of whose catastrophic trench warfare was waged across Flanders fields – a new collection of a dozen ultra-short films, 12 Minutes About Peace, is released theatrically by Belgium’s Kinepolis cinema chain and will be broadcast on Flemish TV channel VRT. Six of the films, meanwhile, will receive their international premiere at the Annecy International Animation Festival (9-14 June) in France.
The six selected for Annecy are A Battle for Peace by Joost Jansen; Daddy Went. Daddy Did by Joost Jansen and Thomas Ceulemans; Marc James Roels and Emma De Swaef’s Otto; FYI by Wendy Morris; Silvia Defrance’s Letter from a Soldier and Where The Poppies Blow by Michael Palmaers.
Animated series Plankton Invasion by Joeri Christiaen, Tim Van Aelst’s sitcom Safety First, The Perfect Couple by Flemish production company deMENSEN and the BBC drama series The Fall, directed by Flemish helmer Jakob Verbruggen, are amongst the nominees for this year’s Rockie Awards, presented at the Banff World Media Festival (8-11 June).
Plankton Invasion zooms in on a team of miniscule marine creatures, plankton, who are in need of more space – or water – and therefore concoct a plan to take over the world.
Wendy Morris’ short film Heir to the Evangelical Revival is selected for the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (9 – 14 June). Two children’s series co-produced in Flanders are to be presented too, just like the Christmas Special of A Town Called Panic and work by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels.
The festival has added Heir to the Evangelical Revival to the line-up of its Short Film Competition. Drawn by hand, Wendy Morris’ animation short is a commentary on the Evangelical Revival in South Africa through the eyes of the director herself who’s an atheist-apostate-agnostic.
Flemish animation studio Walking The Dog by Eric Goossens and Anton Roebben has been chosen as European Producer of the Year during Cartoon Movie Tributes, the awards for outstanding contribution to the development of European animation.
Divided into three categories – director, distributor and producer of the year – the Cartoon Movie Tributes bring together the best European animated features as well as some of the continent’s most active companies within the industry.
Wouter Bongaerts’ short film Mia has been confirmed for the Little Big Shots International Film Festival in Australia. It’s the 20th festival selection for the animation short that was internationally released six months ago.
This March, Mia is to be seen at the Omaha Film Festival in Nebraska, the Holland Animation Film Festival and the Oscar-qualifying Cleveland International Short Film Festival. April proves to be busy too with festival screenings already scheduled in Taiwan, the Netherlands and the United States, bringing the total number to 20 so far.
French-Belgian co-production Jack & The Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu and Stéphane Berla is one of the finalists for Cartoon Tributes, the awards for outstanding contribution to the development of European animation of the last year. Brussels-based animation hub Walking The Dog, which co-produced the feature for Flanders, is also among the nominees, vying for the award as producer of the year. The Cartoon Tributes will be announced on 7 March during Cartoon Movie in Lyon.
Divided into three categories – director, distributor and producer of the year – the Cartoon Tributes bring together the best European animated features as well as some of the continent’s most active companies within the industry.
Wouter Bongaerts’ animated short film Mia has received the Canal+ Family ‘Coup de Coeur’ Award at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival (31 January-8 February), a new initiative between the festival and Canal+ Family which awards the best short film of the Young Audience Programme.
A special jury of 18 pupils of the Saint-Gervais-d’Auvergne College and a representative of French television chain Canal+ Family awarded the Canal+ Family ‘Coup de Coeur’ Award to Wouter Bongaerts’ Mia, lauding it as the best short film of the 50 or so films that were part of the Young Audience Programme this year.
Wouter Bongaerts’ short film Mia has won the Audience Award for Animated Short at the Austin Film Festival in Texas. It’s the first international award for the recently released animation short, kick-starting little Mia’s international career.
Following his graduation project Mouse for Sale, which travelled to festivals worldwide, Wouter Bongaerts now created a story about seven-year-old Mia who tries to liberate her overworked mother from the clutches of an overpopulated metropolis.
There's a strong Flemish presence at this year's Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain (19-26 October), where Stijn Coninx’ feature film Marina and Caroline Strubbe’s I’m the same I’m an other screen in the Official Competition and Bart Van den Bempt’s debut feature 82 Days in April is in the fest’s Meeting Point programme. Bülent Öztürk’s short film Houses With Small Windows and Pieter Coudyzer’sThe Wake complete the Flemish line-up.
As part of the Official Competition, both Marina and I’m the same I’m an other are vying for the Golden and Silver Spike with cash awards worth €60,000 and €20,000, respectively, to support a Spanish release of the film.