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French Cultural Affairs Minister Fleur Pellerin has appointed Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts a chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres).
The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 to recognise emerging artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The distinction is awarded three times a year, with two sessions for French citizens and one for foreigners, and is made up of three ranks: commander, officer and chevalier.
Douglas Boswell’s debut feature Labyrinthus won the Gryphon Award for Best Feature Film in the +10 section of the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy (17-26 July). The Amazing Wiplala, a Dutch-Flemish co-production, took the second prize in the +6 programme. Both films were backed by Screen Flanders.
Labyrinthus tells the story of 14-year-old Frikke who discovers a computer game in which the protagonists are real children. To play or not to play is the question, especially if the fate of loved ones is at stake.
Berlin-based sales agency M-Appeal has picked up world sales rights to Paradise Trips. The film, starring Jeroen Perceval and Gene Bervoets, is the feature debut of director Raf Reyntjens, who previously shot video clips for various artists, including Belgian musician Stromae.
Schneider vs. Bax, the new feature film from Alex van Warmerdam, has been selected for the International Competition at the Locarno Film Festival (5-15 August). Starring Flemish actor Tom Dewispelaere, the film was co-produced with Flanders. Another co-production, Keeper, directed by Guillaume Senez, is to screen in the ‘first films’ competition.
Coming after Borgman, The Last Days of Emma Blank, Waiter and others, Schneider vs. Bax is van Warmerdam’s ninth feature and revolves around hit man Schneider. On the morning of his birthday he’s offered a rush job: to liquidate writer Ramon Bax. Schneider reluctantly accepts, only to discover that the apparently simple job is more complex than he expected.
The Treatment, a thriller by Hans Herbots based on Mo Hayder’s best-selling crime novel, has won the Audience Award at Fantastic Zagreb. The fifth edition of the genre festival took place in the Croatian capital from June 26 to July 4.
Adapted for the screen by scriptwriter Carl Joos (The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Alzheimer Case), Herbots’s thriller follows inspector Nick Cafmeyer, a successful, good-looking policeman who seems to have it all. But, since the age of nine, Nick has been haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his younger brother. When a disturbing kidnapping case comes to light, Nick heads the relentless manhunt that ensues.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (3-11 July) boasts a rich programme including the international premiere of Perdition County, the Czech premiere of Lucifer and with Flemish filmmakers Michaël R. Roskam and Teodora Ana Mihai in attendance.
Gust Van den Berghe’s Lucifer, produced by Minds Meet, is scheduled to have its Czech premiere at the Festival. Raphaël Crombez, meanwhile, was invited as part of Future Frames, a new programme curated by the Festival in collaboration with European Film Promotion (EFP) that highlights 10 filmmakers to watch.
Kebab Royal, a dramatic comedy by Venice Lion-winners Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, had its last day of shooting on July 4. Shot in Brussels, Istanbul and Bulgaria, this Belgian-Dutch-Bulgarian coproduction is a comic road movie about the last King of the Belgians lost in the Balkans.
King Nicolas II, played in the film by Peter Van den Begin (The Fifth Season, Waste Land), is on a symbolic mission to Istanbul with his entourage. Back home, however, Wallonia (the southern half of Belgium) declares its independence. The Kingdom has collapsed and the King must return home at once to fulfil his only true royal duty. But the fates decide otherwise.
Nico Leunen, editor of films such as The Broken Circle Breakdown, Kid, The Invader and Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, has joined the 322-strong ranks of film professionals invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). New members will be welcomed by the Academy in an exclusive event in September.
The invitation to join the Academy means that, as of September, Leunen will also be able to vote for the Oscars. He follows in the footsteps of Flemish directors Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) and Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead).
Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown is one of five nominees for the David Di Donatello Award for Best European Feature. Given by the Italian Film Academy, the prestigious film prizes are the Italian equivalent of the Oscars.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is in the running for Best European Feature together with European heavyweights The Theory of Everything, Locke, Pride and Wild Tales. Van Groeningen’s bluegrass drama was nominated from among more than 100 European films which had a theatrical release in Italy last year.
Copain selected for the Short Film Competition and the animated short film Paradise competing in the Cinéfondation section ensure Flanders’s presence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Various other films in the Festival’s line-up also feature talent from Flanders, while several (co-)productions with Flanders fly the flag in the Marché du Film.
Invited for the Festival’s Short Film Competition, Jan and Raf Roosens’s short film Copain is about Fré, a teenager trapped between his conservative, wealthy parents and his working-class friends. Paradise, by Laura Vandewynckel, tells a story about people heading for a better place on different sides of the ocean; the stop-motion film is set to première as part of the Cinéfondation.