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New Flemish drama series Highway of Love has been sold to German public network ZDF, which will air a dubbed version of it on ZDFneo, ZDF’s second channel which mainly targets younger audiences and is known for programming international drama series such as Mad Men, 30 Rock and The Fall. In addition, subsidiary ZDF Enterprises will handle international sales on Highway of Love, which was produced by deMENSEN for Telenet.
ZDF Enterprises (ZDF-e) is the distribution arm of German public broadcaster ZDF and one of the major distributors of quality TV series in Europe. Highway of Love now joins its catalogue which already includes titles like The Bridge, The Killing and The Fall.
New Flemish fiction series Beau Séjour has won the Audience Award at the seventh edition of Séries Mania (15-24 April), the international television festival in Paris. The series was presented in person by directors Nathalie Basteyns and Kaat Beels; scriptwriters Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens; and lead actress Lynn Van Royen. The audience at Séries Mania named the 10-part series joint winner of the Audience Award out of more than 50 series from all over the world. Beau Séjour is also set to air on Arte in France and Germany next year, a first for a Flemish series.
The Séries Mania festival received over 250 submissions from around the world. Beau Séjour was selected as the only Belgian series for the International Competition, together with seven other titles from Norway, Argentina, France, Australia, the UK, Sweden and Israel.
Last weekend The Natives took home three prizes at the awards ceremony of the Flemish Television Stars. The series from production company De Wereldvrede was voted Best Comedy Series. In addition, scriptwriters Bart Vanneste, Dries Heyneman, Wannes Cappelle and Gilles Coulier were awarded the prize for Best Script in Fiction, while Flemish actress Ann Tuts was presented with the award for Best Actress.
The eight-part series depicts the eccentric inhabitants of a picturesque village who are driven by misplaced ambition and vanity. When stand-up comedian Freddy De Vadder comes to town, everything changes.
From 29 April-7 May at Docville in Leuven, Belgian documentaries will be in the spotlight once again. This year’s National Competition has a distinctly Flemish tinge, with screenings including The Land of the Enlightened, Samuel in the Clouds, No Man Is an Island and The Invisible City [Kakuma]. Two Flemish documentaries - Wim and Truth or Consequence - will also receive their world premieres at Docville.
In Wim, filmmaker Lut Vandekeybus dives into the complex poetic universe of her brother, acclaimed choreographer and director Wim Vandekeybus, while Truth or Consequence by Sam Ostyn is a captivating and poetic portrait of a tiny town in the New Mexico desert that changed its name to the title of a radio show.
The Natives, the absurdist fiction series directed by Gilles Coulier, has been nominated for a Rockie Award in the category Comedy Series. Also nominated in the Reality section is Flemish comedy show The Idiots. The prizes are awarded at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada each year as part of one of the most prestigious competitions for television and digital content. The winners will be announced on June 14.
The Natives competes in the category Comedy Series against five other international titles, including The Big Bang Theory and HBO’s Sillicon Valley. In the eight-part series, Gilles Coulier depicts the deranged inhabitants of a picturesque small village who are driven by misplaced ambition and vanity.
After The Natives and Clinch, Flemish public channel Canvas is working on a new fiction series, The 16, which recently started shooting. Created by Willem Wallyn, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of a man in search of political power. The main roles are played by Michael De Cock and Jan Hammenecker.
Winning power in ‘Wetstraat 16’, the Prime Minister’s residence and the political heart of Belgium, is the ultimate goal for vice-premier Steven Kennis. But before he can become Prime Minister, he still has a lot of work to do.
Flanders’ brand-new drama series Beau Séjour has been selected for the seventh edition of Séries Mania (15-24 April), the international television festival in Paris. The series will compete against seven others as part of the International Competition.
Beau Séjour will be presented as part of the International Competition at Séries Mania, where David Chase, the creator and showrunner of The Sopranos, is jury president this year. The series’ story is set in the hotel of the title where Kato wakes up covered in blood and with no recollection of what happened the night before.
Belgian actor Koen De Bouw (The Team, Loft, Salamander) is to make his US debut in the pilot episode of The Last Tycoon, a production by Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios. Based on the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the story is based on the rise to power of legendary Hollywood producer Irving Thalberg in the 1930s. Billy Ray is set to direct the pilot of what will become a 10-part series to be distributed exclusively via streaming service Amazon Prime.
The Last Tycoon focuses on the sex, violence and driving ambitions during the early years of Hollywood. Matt Bomer takes the role of the ambitious Monroe Stahr (based on real-life mogul Irving Thalberg), a man of simple origins who becomes one of the most powerful producers Hollywood has ever known.
Shooting on Gilles Coulier’s debut feature, Cargo, has started on the Belgian coast. Following the success of The Natives, which was directed and part-written by Coulier, Cargo is the third project on the slate of his production company De Wereldvrede. Coulier’s short films Iceland and Mont Blanc screened in Cannes in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
Cargo is the story of three brothers who are desperately trying to save the family’s fishing business. But their passion for their loved ones and their determination to stay in business drive them to desperate measures.
Production company deMENSEN has closed a worldwide distribution deal with Lagardère Studios Distribution for its first two fiction series, Beau Séjour and Brothers United. Although scheduled for a release in 2017, Lagardère already screened the first episode of thriller series Beau Séjour during the Drama Series Days at this year’s European Film Market in Berlin. Football drama Brothers United also joins the French distributor’s catalogue.
Lagardère Studios Distribution is one of the biggest distributors of television shows in Europe. “We are very proud to start this collaboration with the highly talented producer deMENSEN on two of the most anticipated series on the international market for 2016,” stated Lagardère.