The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) has confirmed funding for a new batch of short-length fiction films. Four titles received production support, among them new shorts by Sahim Omar Kalifa, director of the critically acclaimed Land of the Heroes, and filmmaker Julie De Clercq.
Kalifa's new project, Baghdad Messi, for which he received €60,000 production support, is once again set against the backdrop of Iraq. Originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, the young filmmaker migrated to Belgium in 2001 and enrolled at Brussels’ Sint-Lukas film school. His graduation film, Nan, earned him a VAF Wildcard. This resulted in festival favourite Land of the Heroes, for which the filmmaker chose his birth region as geographical setting.
In Baghdad Messi, young Rizgo is completely addicted to football and the fact that he’s missing one leg doesn’t curb his enthusiasm for the game. Together with his friends he is looking forward to the long awaited Champions’ League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, featuring football heroes like Messi and Ronaldo. But then all of a sudden, their television set breaks down.
Tony Schollaert’s short Stage IV also receives €60,000 production support. Scripted by Schollaert, the story portrays a young, terminally ill woman who wants to shine one last time before she dies.
Julie De Clercq received a €60,000 production grant to start filming The Drunken Horseman, a short film set in a cabin somewhere on earth in the middle of the night, about a man and a woman who are entangled in a game of attraction and rejection. During one moment everything is possible between them, but fear and daily routines complicate their budding love.
De Clercq has already directed several award-winning shorts such as La Vie en Rose, Merzouga and Mayra and helmed the 2005 feature film Wings, starring Johan Heldenbergh who plays the main lead in Felix van Groeningen’s upcoming The Broken Circle Breakdown.
The short-length Flemish minority production Sister Oyo received €20,000 production money. Filmmaker Monique Mbeka Phoba developed a story in which various imaginary elements are mixed with historical facts, taking viewers back to a Congolese boarding school in the 1950s, run by Belgian missionaries as the country’s independence movement gains strength.
Baghdad Messi is written by Sahim Omar Kalifa and Kobe Van Steenberghe and will be directed by Sahim for production company a team productions. Musickness is to produce Stage IV, scripted and directed by Tony Schollaert, while Visualantics will be producing Julie De Clercq’s The Drunken Horseman. Zuster Oyo is scripted and directed by Monique Mbeka Phoba for production outfit Quizas.