Kaat Beels’s feature debut Hotel Swooni has been confirmed for the New Directors Competition of the Chicago International Film Festival (6-20 October). With the selection of her debut from a pool of over 100 first and second films, Beels confirms herinternational reputation as a talent to watch.
Hotel Swooni premiered internationally at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is now making its US bow in Chicago. Not only has the film obtained a ticket for the New Directors Competition for first and second films, but it is is also programmed in the ReelWomen section, which focuses on ‘the input of female writers and directors’.
In Hotel Swooni, the lives of six people intertwine over the course of 24 hours in a hotel. As the city sweats through a sweltering heatwave, emotions start to run high… The film offers a surprising kaleidoscope of hopes and doubts, passion and betrayal, in which no one checks out quite the same as they checked in. It also boasts an impressive cast including Issaka Sawadogo (The Invader), Geert Van Rampelberg, Sara De Roo, Viviane De Muynck, Natali Broods, Vigny Thakouani, Stijn Van Opstal, Maaike Neuville, Wim Danckaert and Tibo Vandenborre. Frank Van Den Eeden was responsible for the photography , while Philippe Ravoet was in charge of editing. Kaat Beels worked together with Michel Sabbe as well as Belgian writer Annelies Verbeke for the ambitious screenplay of the film. Hotel Swooni premiered nationally on 24 August; the Belgian distributor is KFD.
Beels launched her career with her short Cologne and Bedtime Stories, an episode from the triptych Bruxelles, mon amour. Now she is working with Nathalie Basteyns on a Flemish TV series, Clan, with Barbara Sarafian (Moscow, Belgium) in the lead role.
Hotel Swooni isn’t the only Flemish film in Chicago. The festival had earlier confirmed Michaël R Roskams’s debut and Belgian Oscar submission Bullhead, and the short film The Extraordinary Life of Rocky by Kevin Meul. Bullhead is programmed in the World Cinema section, and The Extraordinary Life of Rocky in the Life is Short programme, ‘a competition for 'cutting-edge short films that illustrate how a few minutes can speak volumes’.
The Chicago International Film Festival is the longest-running competititive film festival in North America. During this 47th edition, more than 180 films from over 50 countries will be presented. The festival is also strongly committed to discovering new talent and screens about 50 film debuts.
Hotel Swooni is a production of Peter Bouckaert for Eyeworks Film & TV drama. Internationally, the film is represented by Delphis Films. Hotel Swooni, Bullhead and The Extraordinary Life of Rocky were made possible with support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) among others.