Jonas Baeckeland’s short film Prey has been selected for this year’s Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. Also known as LA Shorts Fest, it is one of the largest American Oscar-qualifying short film festivals. The Importance of Sweet & Salt by Benoit De Clerck and Raf Wathion's animation short DAY_6011 are also added to the LA fest’s slate. The festival screens more than 250 short films from 5-12 September.

PreyIn Prey, director Jonas Baeckeland follows Algerian-born Ali Toumi, who has just escaped from a Belgian prison. Buying himself a new identity he hopes to make a fresh start and provide his family with a normal integrated life. But an unforeseen encounter with an old acquaintance makes Ali relapse into old habits.

Central roles are taken by Mourade Zeguendi (Offline), Jeroen Perceval (Borgman, Bullhead) and Jan Hammenecker (Cub, The Divine Monster). Prey was scripted by Jonas Baeckeland and Wouter Van Haver, Laurens De Geyter was taken on board as DOP. Toon Mertens edited the film, Gianno Marzo composed the soundtrack, while Matthias Hillegeer was responsible for sound. First screened at the Brussels Film Festival, the short is to have its international premiere in Los Angeles.

The Importance of Sweet & Salt by filmmaker Benoit De Clerck is also part of the Los Angeles line-up. It is a tragicomedy about a man's inner struggle to escape from an extremely dysfunctional relationship with his wife. While preparing dinner for his spouse, the man contemplates his current predicament and comes to question his sanity. Having won the Jury Award at the Leuven International Short Film Festival late last year, the short is already a longlist contender for this year’s Academy Awards. The Importance of Sweet & Salt was scripted by Benoit De Clerck with Manu Vanderjeugd as director of photography.

Third Flemish short in line for the LA Shorts Fest is Raf Wathion's animated short DAY_6011. Scripted by Roel Mondelaers, the short has the look of a computer game but reveals a psychological drama underneath, following an elite robotic soldier called Mac Trony. After being alone on guard for more than 6,000 days, he encounters his first contact on his post. But things don’t go as planned.

The LA Shorts Fest ranks among the most prestigious international short film festivals around the world and is the only fest with seven award categories recognised by the Academy Awards. Since its foundation, more than 40 short films lauded by the LA Shorts Fest have earned Academy Award noms, Tom Van Avermaet’s Death of a Shadow being one of them. After winning the Best of the Fest award last year, director Van Avermaet walked the red carpet after Death of a Shadow was chosen as one of the nominees for the Oscar for Best Live Action Short.

Prey is a production of Sieber Marly for Ghent-based production company Blauwhuis (Twelve Going On To Sixty, Blauwhuys). Fred Vranckend produced DAY_6011 for Zonderling. Both films were made possible with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Tuesday 20 August 2013

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