Pieter Van Hees’s Waste Land and Jonas Govaerts’s debut feature Cub have been invited to the Toronto International Film Festival (4-14 September) where they will receive their world premieres. Fabrice du Welz’s Alleluia, a co-production with Flanders, also joins the line-up. And, as previously announced, The Drop by Bullhead-director Michaël R. Roskam will also screen in Toronto, as will Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos, both of them starring Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts.

Waste LandToronto will screen Waste Land in its Vanguard programme, which showcases ‘provocative, sexy… and possibly dangerous’ films. It is Van Hees’s third feature after Left Bank (2008) and Dirty Mind (2009) and the final chapter in the trilogy ‘Anatomy of Love and Pain’. The story centres around taciturn homicide detective Leo Woeste who deals with Brussels’ grim underbelly on a daily basis. When his wife unexpectedly becomes pregnant, his convictions start to crumble. His very last homicide case, involving a death-obsessed dealer in Congolese cult statues, slowly drags him deeper into the waste land.

Cub, Jonas Govaerts’s directorial debut, will be in the Midnight Madness programme, a collection of late-night screenings offering viewers the best in action, horror, shock and fantasy cinema. In his feature debut, Govaerts tells the story of 12-year-old Sam, who heads off to camp with his fellow cub scouts. In the woods, he stumbles on a mysterious tree house, home to a masked, feral-looking child. He tries to warn the scoutmasters, but they ignore him. Sam is convinced a terrible fate awaits them.

For the cast, Govaerts assembled a group of budding young talents such as Maurice Luyten and Gill Eeckelaert, joined by established actors including Titus De Voogdt (Steve + Sky, 22nd of May), Stef Aerts (Cordon, Oxygen), Evelien Bosmans (Marina, Germaine) and Jan Hammenecker (Ex Drummer, 22nd of May).

Also screening in the Vanguard section is Alleluia by Belgian director Fabrice du Welz, inspired by the true story of young nurse Martha Beck, who placed a lonely-hearts advertisement and fell prey to Raymond Fernandez, the thieving lothario who replied and destroyed her life. A La Parti production, the film was co-produced for Flanders by Bart Van Langendonck’s banner Savage Film (Bullhead, Labyrinthus). Alleluia received its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes this year.

Last week, Toronto announced a first batch of titles, including Michaël R. Roskam’s first American feature The Drop, which will premiere in TIFF’s Special Presentations section. In addition to Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini, the film also stars Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead, Rust & Bone, Blood Ties).

Schoenaerts can also be seen alongside Kate Winslet in Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos, which has been confirmed as the festival's closing film.

Pieter Van Hees scripted Waste Land; Koen Mortier and Eurydice Gysel produced the film for production outfit Epidemic (Borgman, 22nd of May). International sales will be handled by Be for Films which was recently set up in Brussels and attended this year’s Cannes market with Hans Herbots’s The Treatment. Roel Mondelaers and Jonas Govaerts teamed up to write the screenplay of Cub; Peter De Maegd produced the film for Potemkino (Small Gods, Where is Gary?). Waste Land, Cub and Alleluia all received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund / Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz.

Published on Wednesday 6 August 2014