Belgian films made in Flanders corner the market and bring home the prizes.
‘Talent Matters’ is the familiar slogan for promoting Belgian films made in Flanders. And talent certainly matters for Belgian audiences, who turned out in impressive numbers for local films in 2013.
At home, almost two million moviegoers bought tickets to Flemish films in 2013 – a 17% increase on 2012. More impressively still, over three quarters of the national admissions for Belgian films were for movies made in Flanders.
In a so-so year for Belgian films at home – admissions as a whole were down 4.6% - Flemish films held their own, thanks mainly to three titles: football comedy FC The Champions, which scored 386,603 admissions in 2013 (and had netted almost double that by the time the final whistle went); legal thriller The Verdict, with 374,891; and immigrant love story Marina, an Italo-Belgian co-production, which has won the hearts of half a million local cinemagoers.
Internationally, Belgian films from Flanders also had a near-record year on the awards front, picking up 338 trophies on five continents – 40 more than in the previous year and a 200% increase on 2011. The top tally went to The Broken Circle Breakdown with 37. The bluegrass drama also made it into the final five at the Oscars and won the César (France’s Oscar) for Best Foreign Film. Other notable prize-winners were the short films Death of a Shadow and Baghdad Messi.
On the production front, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) dished out a total of 9.62 million euros to 186 projects, two thirds of it to features. Meanwhile the Fund will be having a makeover in 2014, following a change which puts it in charge of the whole process of creating and promoting single-screen audiovisual works made in Flanders and Brussels.