Sahim Omar Kalifa’s latest short film Bad Hunter has won the Special Jury Award for Best International Short at the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival in Sydney, Australia (9-18 January). Since its international premiere, Bad Hunter has screened at five international festivals and won awards at four of them.
The film tells the story of 19-year-old Bahoz, who regularly goes into the mountains to hunt but catches very little. Today, however, will change his life for ever.
Hans Herbots’s psychological thriller The Treatment has been sold to the US, where Artsploitation Films will be releasing the film. Earlier this month, Herbots’s film was well received at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, where it had its North American premiere.
The Treatment screened as part of the World Cinema Now section in Palm Springs, creating such a buzz that an extra venue had to be added for the second scheduled screening of the film. Following its successful festival launch, Artsploitation Films acquired North American rights. A distributor specialising in genre films, Artsploitation plans on releasing the film this year.
TV series Marsman, directed by Mathias Sercu and Eshref Reybrouck, has been selected for Official Competition at this year’s FIPA, the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels held in Biarritz, France, from 20-25 January. Also showing is top European crime series The Team, which is a co-production with Flanders. Lieven Corthouts’s cross-media documentary project Emergency Exit has been selected for Smart FIP@, while Before The Last Curtain Falls – a co-production with Flanders – is also part of the programme. Finally, the Screen Flanders-supported BBC series The Missing is to receive a special screening.
Eleven international series are competing in FIPA’s Fiction Competition this year, including Flemish series Marsman, which won a Prix Italia at the end of 2014. A tragicomedy, it follows 40-year-old Nico Marsman who struggles to find a way to get his life back on track.
Pieter Van Hees’s psychological thriller Waste Land has won the Cineuropa Prize at the European Film Festival in Les Arcs (13-20 December). It’s the first international award for Waste Land, the closing chapter in the director’s trilogy.
Since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last autumn, Waste Land has been seen at a number of festivals including Busan, Austin, Stockholm and now Les Arcs; but this is the film’s first prize. The Cineuropa Prize is an initiative of Cineuropa, the online portal showcasing European cinema worldwide.
Sahim Omar Kalifa’s short film Bad Hunter has won the Jury Prize in the Muhr Short Film Competition at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (10-17 December). It’s the third international award for Kalifa’s newest film, while his previous short Baghdad Messi continues its awards spree.
The Jury Prize comes with a sum of 25,000 AED (about $7,000) and is number three in the film’s awards tally. Bad Hunter previously won a Jury Award at the Montreal World Film Festival, where it premiered last summer; and picked up a Silver at Spike Valladolid. In January, the film is confirmed to screen at Australia’s Oscar-qualifying Flickerfest.
Altitude Film Distribution has picked up Jonas Govaerts’s feature-film debut Cub for release in the UK. The film, set in a summer camp for scouts, is scheduled for a theatrical run in summer 2015. Meanwhile, in its home country, Cub has taken over 75,000 admissions to date, with a box office total of €500,000.
In the film, Sam, an imaginative 12-year-old boy, goes off to camp with his Cub Scout pack. He quickly discovers that something is not quite right in the woods when he stumbles across a masked feral child. As Sam gets more and more isolated from the other scouts, he becomes convinced a terrible fate awaits them: the feral child is the assistant of the Poacher, an evil psychopath who has laced the forest with ingenious traps and is intent on slaughtering any trespasser… one at a time.
The Screen Flanders-supported drama series The Missing has been nominated for two Golden Globes. The eight-parter, co-produced with and mainly shot in Belgium, is nominated in the categories Best Miniseries or TV Movie and Best Actress (Frances O'Connor). Czar TV co-produced the series for Flanders with the support of the Screen Flanders economic fund and the Belgian federal tax shelter.
When five-year-old Oliver disappears on a family holiday in France, it sets off a manhunt that will last for years. The Missing explores the mind of a father, Tony, who is desperate to find his lost son. Exploring the emotional cost of a child's abduction, this gripping relationship thriller is told simultaneously over two time frames in two countries.
Pieter Van Hees’s Waste Land has been selected for Official Competition at the European Film Festival in Les Arcs, France (13-20 December). Bas Devos’s feature debut Violet and Benoit De Clerck’s short film The Hunger are also part of the official line-up. Flemish projects to be discovered in the professional programme are Kenneth Mercken’s Coureur and Galloping Mind by Wim Vandekeybus. Finally, three new feature films from Flanders - Black, Belgian Rhapsody and again Waste Land - will be pitched to an audience of distributors and cinema owners from France.
Waste Land, Black and Belgian Rhapsody will be presented during the Les Arcs Summit, a yearly programme that reunites independent distributors and industry professionals focusing on the exhibition of European films in France and made up of a number of films scheduled for a 2015 release.
Earlier this week, Flemish director Felix van Groeningen began filming Belgica, a story about two brothers who get swept away by their own success. Last year, van Groeningen’s bluegrass drama The Broken Circle Breakdown was nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar.
Belgica tells the story of Jo and Frank, two brothers who have their differences over the years but, when their paths cross once more, decide to start a bar called Belgica. The place becomes a hotspot in Belgium’s nightlife scene in no time, but both brothers threaten to get swept away by their success.
The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) has announced this year’s Wildcard winners: six promising young filmmakers who will each receive a grant of between €25,000 and €60,000 to develop their first professional film. Raphaël Crombez and Miwako Van Weyenberg were winners in the fiction section, with Ruben Desiere and Kwinten Gernay each receiving a documentary Wildcard. The animation grant went to Laura Vandewynckel, with Christina Stuhlberger getting the Wildcard in the filmlab section.
Since it was introduced in 2005, the Fund’s competition has established itself as Belgium’s prime awards programme when it comes to launching new talent. Six grants are handed out: three worth €60,000 go to one animation project and two fiction shorts; the two documentary winners each get €40,000; and the Wildcard in the filmlab section comes with a prize of €25,000.