Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown has won the Audience Award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (15 November-1 December). This is now the 40th award so far for the intense bluegrass drama, whose slate also includes eight audience awards.

The Broken Circle BreakdownThe Broken Circle Breakdown returns from Estonia with the festival’s Audience Award, worth €2,000. The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in Northern Europe and, in addition to its main competition, embraces a cluster of events accommodating the three sub-festivals Animated Dreams, Just Film and Sleepwalkers, as well as several industry events. The festival screens around 500 films, half of which are feature-length films and documentaries, and annually attracts some 60,000 visitors.

Based on the theatre play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, Felix van Groeningen and Carl Joos wrote the screenplay for The Broken Circle Breakdown. Veerle Baetens (The Verdict, The White Queen, Loft), Johan Heldenbergh (Come As You Are, Moscow, Belgium, The Misfortunates) and Nell Catrysse (The Verdict) take centre stage in the film for which Ruben Impens took care of photography. Nico Leunen was taken on board as editor, while The Broken Circle Breakdown Band, led by Björn Eriksson, performed the story’s bluegrass soundtrack.

Van Groeningen's fourth feature film after Steve + Sky, With Friends Like These and The Misfortunates, The Broken Circle Breakdown preemed at the Film Fest Ghent in 2012, moving on to the Berlinale for the international premiere where the film immediately received two awards: the Panorama Audience Award and the Europa Cinemas Label. Another two awards (Best Actress, Best Screenplay) followed at the Tribeca Film Festival. In the meantime, the film also won awards at the likes of CPH:PIX, the Festroia Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival and, recently, the Seville European Film Festival and the Key West Film Festival in Florida. The Audience Award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festivals marks the 40th prize for The Broken Circle Breakdown, including eight audience awards.

Not only a festival hit, The Broken Circle Breakdown has also keen notching up an impressive international theatrical run. Released in France by Bodega Films as Alabama Monroe, the film has already reached over 200,000 visitors, making it the most successful release of any Flemish film in France. Since early November, the film has also played in various US cities including New York, Seattle, Washington and San Diego. On 6 December, the film opens in Atlanta, Denver, Austin, Hollywood, San Jose and Santa Cruz, among others. US distribution is handled by Tribeca Film.

The Broken Circle Breakdown is also Belgium’s official entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film; it's been nominated six times for the European Film Awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress and People’s Choice Award); and is one of the finalists for the LUX Prize awarded by the European Parliament.

Produced by Dirk Impens of Menuet, The Broken Circle Breakdown was able to count on the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Monday 2 December 2013