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.
Juanita Onzaga’s documentary short The Jungle Knows You Better Than You Do has been selected for the Generation 14plus Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival (9-19 February). The animated feature Richard the Stork, which was co-produced with Flanders, also premiers in the Generation section.
Juanita Onzaga’s film, a cross between documentary and fiction, is set in Colombia, a country portrayed as a land of ghosts. The filmmaker follows her brother Pablo deep into the jungle in search of the spirit of their dead father. There, they uncover truths and attract unexpected company.
Variety has named Belgian director Robin Pront as one of its 10 ‘Europeans to Watch’. As in previous years, the trade magazine has highlighted 10 talents from across the continent who are poised for a breakthrough in 2017. The group will be feted at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival.
The director attracted critical attention with his short film Plan B about the drug scene in Antwerp, as well as the well-received crime drama The Ardennes, his debut feature which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and represented Belgium at the Oscars.
Fien Troch’s Home, Peter Monsaert’s Le Ciel Flamand and King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth have been invited to the Göteborg International Film Festival (27 January – 6 February). The line-up also includes three co-productions with Flanders and a retrospective of the work of the Dardenne brothers.
New Voices, a section showcasing films by upcoming directors in search of new trends, welcomes Monsaert’s Le Ciel Flamand. Home and Brosens and Woodworth’s royal odyssey King of the Belgians are to screen in the Five Continents programme, a collection of films from around the world.
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…
The Works International has secured a raft of distribution deals for Erik Van Looy’s action-thriller, The Prime Minister.
Van Looy’s feature film has been snapped up across a multitude of territories including Trade Media for France; DDDream for China; Aya Pro for Japan; Discovery for Former Yugoslavia and Viswas Films for India. A further raft of territories are also in late stage negotiations including Turkey, Middle East and Italy, with deals soon to be announced.
Belgian director Wouter Bouvijn has been invited to the Arc 1950 Co-Production Village in Les Arcs where he will pitch his upcoming debut feature Escape. The festival has also announced its full line-up, which includes the animated short Catherine as well as some co-productions with Flanders. As previously announced, Fien Troch’s Home and Brosens and Woodworths’ King of the Belgians will also screen in Les Arcs.
Over three days, the Co-Production Village presents a selection of 20 European feature films in development to professionals interested in a financial or production participation. Among those invited this year is Wouter Bouvijn (Crossroads), who is currently preparing his debut feature Escape (fka (F)light).
Kevin Meul’s debut feature My First Highway has won the International Jury Award for Best Film at Just Film, a sidebar of Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival aimed at children and young people.
Focusing on 16-year-old Benjamin, My First Highway is a tale of love and lost innocence with a bitter twist, situated in the world of teenagers. The film is Meul’s first feature film after he directed several well-received short films, including The Extraordinary Life of Rocky and Cadet.
Continuing its festival tour, King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth will screen at the Marrakech International Film Festival (2-10 December), where it is in Competition. After that the film goes on to the Dubai International Film Festival (7-14 December), marking its 15th festival selection to date.
Brosens and Woodworth’s fourth feature premiered at the Venice Film Festival and has been successfully travelling the international festival circuit ever since. King of the Belgians has already screened in Hamburg, Thessaloniki, Valladolid, Antalya, Sao Paolo, Zagreb and Tallinn. In Marrakech, it will be one of 14 features competing for the festival’s main prize.