Come As You Are and North Sea Texas grabbed a total of five awards at this year’s 35th Montreal World Film Festival: Geoffrey Enthoven’s Come As You Are was awarded the main prize of the festival, the Grand Prix des Amériques, the Audience Award and a Special Mention of the Ecumenical Jury; while Bavo Defurne’s North Sea Texas won the Silver Zenith Award for best feature debut and the Fipresci International Press Award.

Still from Geoffrey Enthoven's Come As You AreAs a weakened Hurricane Irene passed over Montreal, Flemish cinema was caught in a flood of awards. For the first time ever, two Flemish features were awarded at the Montreal fest, while for the second consecutive year and the third time in five years, a Flemish film grabbed the fest’s top prize. Hans Van Nuffel’s Oxygen and Nic Balthazar’s Ben X grabbed the Grand Prix des Amériques in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

During the festival, Come As You Are was received with standing ovations at each of its three screenings and on general request an extra screenings was organised on Sunday which sold out in less than an hour. In line with expectations, the film also won the Audience Award.

Come As You Are also received a Special Mention from the Ecumenical jury. Geoffrey Enthoven, actor Gilles De Schryver, screenwriter Pierre De Clercq and producer Mariano Vanhoof (Fobic Films) were in Montreal to receive the awards.

The successful reception in Montreal coincided with the announcement that the Canadian rights for Come As You Are had been sold to K-Films Amérique (J’ai tué ma mère). Talks are ongoing for other territories. Films Boutique, the film’s international sales agent, is taking the film to the Toronto International film fest to further present it to potential buyers.

Still from Bavo Defurne's North Sea TexasThe international premiere at Montreal of Bavo Defurne’s North Sea Texas also did not go unnoticed. The film sold out throughout and got a must-see label from the press.

In the end, press attention translated to a Fipresci Award for Best Debut, Awarded by the international press jury, and a Silver Zenith (Second Prize) in the World Competition for Best Debut Film. Bavo Defurne and producer Yves Verbraecken (Indeed Films) were at the ceremony to receive the awards.

The Montreal success of the film also generated extra interest from distributors. Wavelength Pictures, the film’s international sales agent, was thought to be in the final stages of discussing sales to Canada, the US, Italy and France, thanks in part to the Montreal Awards. At the start of the festival it had already been announced that Salzgeber & Co had acquired the rights for all German-speaking territories. Bavo Defurne can also expect a number of invitations to international fests.

The World Film Festival is the third Montreal fest this year where Flemish films have grabbed the main prizes. In spring, Peter Krüger’s documentary Antwerp Central received the Grand Prize at the International Film Festival on Art (FIFA) and in early August, Michaël R Roskam’s Bullhead was honoured with the Award for Best Feature Debut (New Flesh Award) at Fantasia in Montreal.

Both Come As You Are and North Sea Texas were supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).

Published on Monday 29 August 2011

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