Tom Heene’s Welcome Home, which only recently received an invitation to Venice, and Patrice Toye’s Little Black Spiders are the Flemish eye-catchers at the 36th World Film Festival in Montreal (23 August-3 September). Heene’s debut feature will be screening in the First Films World Competition, while Toye’s film will be celebrating its world premiere in the prestigious Focus on World Cinema section. In total, no less than 10 Flemish (co)productions were confirmed for the Canadian fest’s line-up.
With selections for both Montreal and the International Critics’ Week in Venice, filmmaker Tom Heene has pulled off an impressive feat. In Montreal’s First Films World Competition Welcome Home is in the running for one of three Zenith Awards. Producer of Welcome Home is Tomas Leyers for Minds Meet. The Brussels-based production company even has a second film screening in Montreal: minority co-production The World Belongs to Us by director Stephan Streker was confirmed for the Focus on World Cinema programme.
Director Patrice Toye will also have a busy couple of weeks. After the world premiere of her third feature, Little Black Spiders, the film is set to open the Ostend Film Festival back home. Little Black Spiders is a production of Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time (Someone Else’s Happiness, Kid, Nono, the Zigzag Kid) and will be released in Belgian theatres on 19 September. Toye already has some experience with the World Film Festival – her previous feature, Nowhere Man, also had its premiere at the fest. Both Toye and producer Nino Lombardo will be present in Montreal, as well as leading actress Charlotte De Bruyne.
Last year's Montreal Grand Prize winner Hasta la vista (Come As You Are) is also back on the programme with a special open-air screening on Saturday night.
The Focus on World Cinema also has an extensive shorts programme with among others Shattered Past by Boris Sverlow and The Letter by Kenneth Mercken. Last year, both directors won a VAF Wildcard from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund with their shorts. Montreal also invited the Palm Springs-awarded short Dura Lex by Anke Blondé, Natasha by Roman Klochkov and Name of the Fathers by Timothy Wennekes. Finally, Laura Zuallaert’s short documentary Asparragos, which screened at the Berlinale this year, is confirmed for the Documentaries of the World section.
The Montreal World Film Festival, the most important film festival in the French-speaking world after Cannes, is devoted to encouraging cultural diversity and understanding among nations. Flemish films have made quite an impact at the fest these past few years with Best Actor Awards for Jan Decleir (2005) and Filip Peeters (2006), Best Short for FAL by Hans Van Nuffel (2008), the Grand Prix des Amériques and other awards for Ben X (2007), Oxygen (2010) and Come As You Are (2011) and a Silver Zenith for North Sea Texas (2011).
It’s not just films that impress in Montreal. The official poster for this year’s festival has been designed by Belgian artist Amira Daoudi. With her artwork, the Brussels-based graphic designer won the worldwide contest launched earlier this year. Daoudi, no stranger to the Flemish audiovisual scene, has worked with directors Michaël R Roskam, Gust Van den Berghe, Nicolas Provost and Nic Balthazar. She also created the poster for Toye’s Little Black Spiders.
Welcome Home, Little Black Spiders, Come As You Are, The World Belongs to Us, Dura Lex and Natasha were all made with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund.