From the Flanders (i) magazine

Bullhead and Beyond

Last year’s Oscar nomination for Bullhead launched the international careers of director Michaël R. Roskam and leading man Matthias Schoenaerts. The film’s producer, Bart Van Langendock, has yet to follow them across the atlantic, but the nomination has changed his life in other ways.

bartvl‘Industry people like international sales agents and distributors are more eager to listen to what I have to offer now,’ he says. ‘Now that they know my name, and it’s linked to Bullhead, they are at least willing to look at new projects.’

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Published on Thursday 16 May 2013

Digging out a story

When Bram Van Paesschen set out for the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010 he was expecting to make a film about Chinese mineral traders, following up a previous documentary on the lives of African miners. Things started to go wrong almost as soon as he arrived and he was forced to improvise the result, Empire of Dust, suggests he struck gold after all.

Text: Ian Mundell

Still from Empire of DustVan Paesschen first thought of travelling to Congo when he was asked to come up with a social documentary for the Flemish TV channel Canvas. ‘I never had this dream of going to Africa,’ he recalls, ‘but I saw pictures of the mine workers and I thought the scenery was very impressive and the situation was interesting. So I proposed it to them.’

The channel accepted and Van Paesschen was soon on his way to the mineral-rich Katanga province, in the south of Congo. ‘It was like landing on Mars!’ he says of that first experience. But he soon found his feet. ‘You have to be open and patient. You have to be a bit quiet and observe a lot, then you can grasp the situation quite easily.’

The resulting film, Pale Peko Bantu Mambo Ayikosake (Wherever There Are People, Problems Are Never Lacking), follows a group of men who dig out minerals by hand and sell them by the sackload to official buyers, or smuggle them out on the black market. His plan in returning was to explore the other side of this business, following a pair of brothers from the Chinese community who buy minerals from the miners.

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Published on Thursday 28 July 2011

In the news

Empire of Dust top of the class at Docville

Published on Wednesday 9 May 2012

Young filmmakers join Savage Film talent pool

Published on Wednesday 16 May 2012

A Flemish touch to Belgian festival bills

Published on Wednesday 25 April 2012

Snake Dance and Empire of Dust to Nyon

Published on Friday 13 April 2012

Docs & Lab from Flanders in Kassel

Published on Friday 11 November 2011

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