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.
“It’s an event on a human scale: very friendly, extremely enjoyable and very well organised.”
Rémi Bonhomme | Semaine de la Critique, Cannes
The latest completed Flemish films - plus, in 2017, a selection of TV series - will be screened, while a selection of projects at various stages from development to post-production will be pitched to top professionals, including programmers from festivals such as Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Tribeca, Toronto and SXSW.
“I was really surprised by the variety of people and the quality of projects at NeXT 2016. In general, a great atmosphere.”
Susan Wendt | Trust Nordisk
But the main focus will again be on providing international guests with the chance to meet, greet and explore topics of mutual concern with their Flemish colleagues in a relaxed and congenial atmosphere. Which is where Ghent - hailed by Lonely Planet as “Belgium’s best-kept secret” - comes in, with its winding streets and top-class restaurants.
Last year’s event proved a hit with the 50 invitation-only international guests who flew in from Europe and North America, proving once again that, even in the film business’s overloaded calendar, there is room for another event provided it is focused, well organised and different - all boxes successfully ticked by NeXT.
“Everybody was so welcoming. It was amazing to have so many networking opportunities.”
Kerri Craddock | Toronto International Film Festival
Flanders Image, the promotional arm of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), will again organise the event, and is currently updating the guest list, with around 75 professionals expected in Ghent this autumn.