Ben X, Nic Balthazar’s award-winning feature debut, continues to score following its premiere at the World Film Festival of Montréal in 2007. This week, the film received the prestigious Efebo d’Oro at the 33th Film Festival of Agrigento in Sicily (17-21 October). Balthazar is currently working on his second feature, Time Of My Life, which is currently set for a January 2012 release in its home territory.

Still from Nic Balthazar's Ben XThe Efebo d’Oro, which is awarded to successful book adaptations, has in the past been won by such distinguised international filmmakers as François Truffaut, Claude Lelouch, Giuseppe Tornatore and Manoel de Oliveira. Ben X is based on director Nic Balthazar’s own theatre play and book Niets is alles wat hij zei (Nothing Is All He Said) which, in addition to being adapted for the screen, has also been translated into Italian and published in Italy.

Ben X made its debut at the 2007 Montréal World Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix des Amériques and the Audience Award, among others. The film went on to receive awards at festivals including Palm Springs, Abu Dhabi and Sedona. In 2007, the film was also chosen as Belgium’s submission to the Foreeign Language Oscar.

Based on a true story, the film features Ben, who’s mildly autistic. He seems to live in his own universe, which is mainly in the world of online computer games. The real, harsh life of technical school is a daily hell and he is a regular target for the school bullies. But when a mystery girl on the web also makes an entrance in his real life, Ben’s plans change. Sharing the lead roles are Greg Timmermans and Laura Verlinden. Belgian band Praga Khan provided most of the music, with additional songs by dEUS and Sigur Ros.

Ben X is produced by Peter Bouckaert and Erwin Provoost for Eyeworks Film & TV Drama. The film’s international sales agent is Paris-based Films Distribution which has sold Ben X to over 50 countries already. Ben X and Time Of My Life were made possible with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), among others.

Published on Tuesday 18 October 2011