The 38th edition of the Ghent Film Festival (11-22 October) has added four Belgian films to its programme. Blue Bird (Gust Van den Berghe), The Invader (Nicolas Provost) and L’Hiver Dernier (John Shank) have been selected for the official competition of the festival, while Lena (Christophe Van Rompaey) will have its Belgian premiere at the festival.

Still from 'Blue Bird'Blue Bird, the second feature by Gust Van den Berghe, is based on a story by Belgian Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck. Two African children leave their village with just one thing in mind: finding their lost blue bird before the day is over. But along the way they will find much more: they encounter spirits and ghosts. Van den Berghe’s first feature, Little Baby Jesus of Flandr, was given a huge ovation at the Cannes Film Festival last year and this year Blue Bird was received with even more enthusiasm at the festival.

Nicolas Provost's highly anticipated feature film debut The Invader is a social thriller about an illegal African immigrant in Brussels who is looking for a better life. The film got great press reviews at this year’s Venice Film Festival and leading actor Issaka Sawadogo (Hotel Swooni) received huge acclaim. Provost acquired international fame with his visual film art, such as Papillon d’amour and the Plot Point trilogy. The Invader is also added to the line-up of the Toronto International Film Festival (8-18 September) and the San Sebastián International Film Festival (16-24 September).

The third Belgian film in competition is Last Winter (L’Hiver Dernier), the feature debut of John Shank, about a young man who inherits his family’s farm and begins exploring the roots of his existence. His shorts, such as Un Veau Pleurait, la Nuit and Les Mains Froides were well received at numerous European film festivals. 

Lena, directed by Christophe Van Rompaey (Moscow, Belgium), will also be screened at the festival, though not in competition. Lena is a lonely, overweight adolescent girl who falls in love with Daan, a popular but unreliable boy. Lena moves in with Daan and his strange father Tom and she is willing to do a lot for Daan’s love. More than a lot, actually. Lena is also currently playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Blue Bird is a Minds Meet production by Tomas Leyers. The Flemish producer of The Invader is Antonino Lombardo for Prime Time. Lena is produced by Dries Phlypo for A Private View. Lastly, L’Hiver Dernier is a Tarantula, Silex Films and PCT production.  

All the productions received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).

Published on Monday 12 September 2011

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