The line-up of this year's Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain (20-27 October) includes four features and two short films from Flanders. Patrice Toye’s Little Black Spiders and Peter Brosens & Jessica Woodworth’s The Fifth Season screen in the fest’s main competition, while Peter Monsaert’s debut feature Offline and Nic Balthazar’s Time of My Life compete in the Meeting Point section. The short films Death of a Shadow by Tom Van Avermaet and Robyn O. by Cecilia Verheyden are selected for main competition and Meeting Point respectively.

Still from Patrice Toye's Little Black SpidersThe Spanish fest also invited Geoffrey Enthoven, who won both the Golden Spike and the Young Jury Award last year with his film Come As You Are, to join their international jury. Both Little Black Spiders and The Fifth Season are in the running for the prestigious Golden Spike for Best Feature with a value of €60,000, while Offline and Time of My Life could win the Meeting Point Best Feature Award worth €15,000.

The short films are also vying for important awards. Death of a Shadow is in contention for the Golden Spike for Best Short film, which comes with a grant of €6,000, while Robyn O. is in the running for the Meeting Point Best Foreign Short, which is worth €3,000 to the winning director. Last year, Kevin Meul’s short film The Extraordinary Life of Rocky grabbed the Meeting Point Award.

Just last month, Patrice Toye’s Little Black Spiders had its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival and recently the film opened the Ostend Film Festival. Toye’s third feature was also invited to close the Netherlands Film Festival together with Time of My Life. Little Black Spiders is a production of Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time (Someone Else’s Happiness, Kid, Nono, the Zigzag Kid) and was released in Belgian theatres on 19 September.

With selections for the likes of Venice, Toronto, Busan, Hamburg and Rio de Janeiro, The Fifth Season is quickly becoming a festival favourite. The film enjoyed the red carpet in Venice with its world premiere and even grabbed two awards: the Arca CinemaGiovani Award: “Best movie in Venice 69” and the Green Drop Award. Flemish co-producer for The Fifth Season is Bo Films. Berlin-based Films Boutique announced that it is handling international sales on the film, while Imagine Film confirmed that it is to release The Fifth Season in Belgium on 23 January 2013.

Peter Monsaert’s feature debut Offline will premiere at the 39th Flanders International Film Festival Ghent, where the film is also running in competition. Offline is a production of Annemie Degryse for Lunanime. Time of My Life was recently presented with the ‘Ensor Award’ for Best Film at the Ostend Film Festival. The film is produced by Peter Bouckaert for Eyeworks Film & TV Drama.

Short Death of a Shadow by Tom Van Avermaet, starring Matthias Schoenaerts, won the Award for Best Short Film at the LA Shorts Fest last month. With this win, the short is now eligible to enter the Short Films category of the Academy Awards. In Death of a Shadow, deceased soldier Nathan Rijckx collects the shadows of dying men and women to buy back his own second chance at life. Obsessed by a girl he met the moment before he died, the thought of seeing his beloved again drives the soldier to regain access to the world of the living. But when he discovers that she’s already in love with someone else, jealousy clouds his mind and pushes him toward a bitter decision, a decision not without its consequences… Death of a Shadow is a production of Ellen De Waele for Serendipity Films.

In Robyn O., teenage girl Robyn is desperate to join her older brothers at parties, but they don't want her around. When their parents leave for a business trip, Robyn’s little brother succeeds where she has never been able to. She totally loses control. Cecilia Verheyden’s short won the Award for Best Short Film at the Brussels Film Festival this year.

The International Film Festival in Valladolid is one of the oldest and best established film festivals in Europe. In the past few years, the festival has presented a number of films by Flanders filmmakers including Gust Van den Berghe (Blue Bird, Little Baby Jesus of Flandr) and Geoffrey Enthoven (Come As You Are). In Spain the festival is, along with the San Sebastián festival, a must-attend for the local film industry. All six films in Valladolid were supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund.

Published on Thursday 4 October 2012