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.

Belgian RhapsodyFilmfest DC presents Belgian Rhapsody alongside seven other features in a special programme, ‘The Lighter Side’, showing how humour can be a way to a better understanding of a different culture.

In Belgian Rhapsody two brass bands, the Flemish ‘St. Cecilia’ and Walloon ‘En Avant’, are contenders for national pre-selection for the final of the European Union’s Best Brass Band contest. When Willy of the Flemish band drops dead on stage after sounding the band’s final note on his trumpet, the conductor’s daughter comes up with an idea on how to beat the competition. The film previously closed the festivals of Montreal and Arras.

Nkosi Coiffure by Frederike Migom will also be shown in Washington, following the film’s screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this month. The film starts with Eva and her boyfriend having a fight on the street in the Congolese neighbourhood of Brussels. When Eva escapes into a hair salon, the African women in the salon initially support her, seeing a woman in distress. But when they find out what the fight was about, opinions differ.

With The Brand New Testament and The White Knights, the line-up also features two co-productions with Flanders. Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament tells the surreal story of God, a bastard who lives in Brussels, whose 10-year-old daughter Ea posts everybody’s death dates on the internet to get even with her dad. The White Knights by Joachim Lafosse tells the story of Jacques Arnault, who tries to rescue 300 child victims of a civil war in an operation that turns into a humanitarian disaster.

Finally, Waves ’98 from Lebanese director Ely Dagher (who lives in Brussels) has also been selected. Last year, his film won the Palme d’Or for Best Short at Cannes.

Belgian Rhapsody was produced by Peter Bouckaert for Eyeworks (The Verdict, Marina) and Nkosi Coiffure by Jules Debrock for 2nd to the right (Adam & Everything). Flemish co-producer of The Brand New Testament is Frank Van Passel for Caviar (Black, Sum of Histories), while The White Knights was co-produced by Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time (Kid, Little Black Spiders).

Belgian Rhapsody, Nkosi Coiffure, The Brand New Testament and The White Knights received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. The Brand New Testament was also backed by the Screen Flanders economic fund, under the aegis of Flemish Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Gatz.

Published on Friday 1 April 2016

Preferential partners