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Black directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will direct the pilot episode of Snowfall, a new drama series for American network FX. With the feature The Big Fix already in the pipeline, Snowfall is the second American project for the two young Belgian filmmakers.
Snowfall is set in 1980’s Los Angeles where the crack epidemic is about to break out. The story follows three characters: the young, power-hungry entrepreneur Franklin Saint; Gustavo Zapata, a Mexican wrestler and gangster in search of the American dream; and CIA agent Teddy McDonald.
Belgian director Tom Van Avermaet will direct a segment of the anthology film Berlin, I Love You, starring Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire). Confirmed directors for the other segments include Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. This will be the first international project for Van Avermaet, whose short film Death of a Shadow was nominated for an Oscar in 2013.
Berlin, I Love You is the latest instalment in the ‘Cities of Love’ franchise that includes Paris, je t'aime (2006) and New York, I Love You (2008). The films consist of 10 shorts that together make up a feature, each segment being directed by a different filmmaker.
Shooting on Speechless, the adaptation of Tom Lanoye’s well-reviewed novel of the same name, will start this summer. Actress and director Hilde Van Mieghem is to direct; Viviane De Muynck and Stany Crets will play the main roles.
Speechless (working title) is about successful writer Jan Meersman whose life is turned upside down when his mother has a stroke. Having lost the ability to speak, the once vibrant and flamboyant woman turns into a shade of her former self. Meanwhile Jan is struggling with the deadline for his new novel.
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s feature film Black will be simultaneously released in Spain, Italy and Portugal at the end of July. The film will be made available via VOD and in cinemas. It is also set for a theatrical release in the UK.
The Spanish rights for Black have been acquired by Karma Films, a Madrid-based distributor whose slate includes international successes such as Rams, Song of the Sea and the documentary Tomorrow. Karma previously distributed Flemish films Come As You Are and Ben X.
Veerle Baetens, voted European actress of the Year in 2013, is to make her directorial debut with the big-screen adaptation of Lize Spit's debut novel 'The Melting' ('Het smelt'). The actress, known for such films as the Oscar-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown and Berlinale entry News From Planet Mars, or for TV series The Team and the upcoming Beyond the Walls (Au-delà des murs) and Tabula Rasa, will also write the script. But Baetens insists she has no plans to abandon her acting career in Belgian and international productions.
Although The Melting is an exciting and important departure for Baetens, it is also a logical development in her career: she plans to adapt the novel herself, having gained scriptwriting experience on the original TV series Tabula rasa, which she co-wrote and which completed shooting earlier this week.
Pandora Film Verleih has acquired German rights to Cecilia Verheyden’s feature debut Behind the Clouds from production company Eyeworks. A number of German distributors had shown strong interest in the film, which has sold 115,000 tickets on its home turf.
“We are pleased to be distributing Cecilia Verheyden’s wonderful first feature,” says Björn Hoffmann of Pandora. "All of us here fell instantly in love with the film. It’s very precise, highly emotional and has a subtle humour that makes it a real crowd-pleaser for an arthouse audience.
The feature debut of Robin Pront, The Ardennes, has won the Fresh Blood Prize (Prix Sang Neuf) at the eight edition of the International Thriller Film Festival in Beaune, France (30 March – 3 April). Director Robin Pront was on hand to accept the award in Beaune, which comes just before the French release of the film on April 13 by distributor Diaphana.
“It’s extraordinary that a Flemish director is winning prizes as a new talent with his first film,” says The Ardennes producer Bart Van Langendonck. “Beaune is an important festival for genre films and this prize for The Ardennes endorses the positive reactions in the French press.”
Vincent Bal’s musical comedy Belgian Rhapsody and Frederike Migom’s short film Nkosi Coiffure have both been selected for Filmfest DC, the International Film Festival of Washington (14-24 April), with Belgian Rhapsody featured as one of the comedy highlights of the festival. The Brand New Testament and The White Knights, two co-productions with Flanders, are also in the programme.
Sum of Histories, directed by Lukas Bossuyt, and Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened both received their Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which ended on 4 April. The programme also included four co-productions with Flanders: Schneider vs Bax, The White Knights, Les Cowboys and the short film Splintertime. Finally, Flemish actor Jan Bijvoet was also featured in Embrace of the Serpent, in which he plays one of the main roles.
Lukas Bossuyt’s directorial debut Sum of Histories received its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Film Festival after premiering at the Montreal World Film Festival last summer. It is the story of Viktor, a brilliant young professor who discovers a way to manipulate time. Now he can finally change the past and help his beloved Lena.
Café Derby, the semi-autobiographical feature debut of director Lenny Van Wesemael, has won two prizes at the 17th edition of the International Film Festival of Aubagne (14-19 March) in France. Wim Opbrouck was named Best Actor, while newcomer Chloë Daxhelet won the prize for Best Actress. One week earlier, Café Derby picked up four awards at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, including the one for Best Film.
“I’m very happy that the film’s two main actors have won a prize,”, said Lenny Van Wesemael as she thanked the festival jury on behalf of Wim Opbrouck in a video message that also featured young Chloë Daxhelet.