Marina, Stijn Coninx’ newest feature film after previous hits as Soeur Sourire and Daens, has won the Prize of the Student Jury at the Valladolid International Film Festival (19-26 October). It’s the first time the prize is being awarded in the fest’s brand new youth section ‘Seminci Joven’. Also Bart Van den Bempt’s 82 Days in April had reason to celebrate in Spain, having received a Special Mention.
With its Semicini Joven section, the Valladolid Film Fest wants to give a voice to young film lovers as they are the prime audience in cinemas but are often unaccounted for at festivals. Consequently, director Stijn Coninx was very pleased that a film as Marina, aiming at young audiences, received this award handed out by its target group.
Marina premièred last summer at the Montreal World Film Festival where it screened in the World Greats programme. It continued its tour with stops at Namur and Hof, Germany among others and will be shown in the Alice in the city section of the Rome Film Festival early November.
It’s the story of young Rocco, growing up in a mountain hamlet in Calabria until one day his father Salvatore decides to seek a better future for his family by becoming a coal miner in Belgium. He soon sends for his family to come over, but the greyish mining landscapes and foreign culture and language put a damper on Rocco’s happiness. Still, he wants to become someone and have a purpose in life and so seeks an escape through music and love.
Peter Bouckaert produced Marina for Eyeworks (The Verdict, Time of My Life), in co-production with the Dardenne brothers and the Italian Orisa Produzioni. Italian actors as Luigi Lo Cascio (La meglio gioventù) and Donatella Finocchiaro teamed up with local talents as Matteo Simoni and Evelien Bosmans to complete the cast. Rik D’hiet and Stijn Coninx wrote the screenplay, which is based on the childhood memories of Italian-Belgian singer and accordion player Rocco Granata. Photography on Marina was done by Lou Berghmans, Philippe Ravoet took care of editing. Michel Bisceglia composed the original soundtrack for the film.
Bart Van den Bempts feature debut 82 Days in April was laureled in Valladolid as well, receiving a Special Mention in the Meeting Point programme. The film had its world première at the Montreal World Film Festival past summer and recently screened at the Ghent Film Fest. The film captures the journey Herman and Marie, a couple in their fifties, are making through Turkey, following the path their son took prior to his fatal accident.
Director Van den Bempt also scripted the film, starring Marc Peeters and Karen Vanparys. Rik Zang was responsible for photography; Dieter Diependaele edited the film. The original soundtrack was written by Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen. 82 Days in April is a Serendipity Films production, produced by Ellen De Waele.
Both Marina and 82 Days in April received funding through the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.