There was another strong presence from Flanders at this year’s International Film Festival in Berlin (11-21 February). Actress Martha Canga Antonio took the stage as one of 10 European Shooting Stars; foreign films starring Veerle Baetens and Jan Bijvoet were in the line-up; four film professionals from Flanders were picked for the Berlinale Talents initiative; and a variety of Flemish (co-)productions screened in the European Film Market.

BlackMartha Canga Antonio was one of 10 European Shooting Stars in the spotlight during the Berlinale. The actress made an international impact with her debut role as Mavela in Black, a contemporary Romeo & Juliet story directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Previous Shooting Stars have included Matthias Schoenaerts, Alicia Vikander, Carey Mulligan and Daniel Brühl.

Flemish actress Veerle Baetens appeared in News from Planet Mars by French director Dominik Moll, a story about a divorced father and manager in an IT firm who feels trapped in his daily routine. Appearing alongside François Damiens and Vincent Macaigne, Baetens plays an animal rights activist with psychological problems. It is the second French film role for The Broken Circle Breakdown star following Un début prometteur directed by Emma Luchini.

The Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent by Colombian director Ciro Guerra – based on real events and presented in Berlin’s NATIVe-programme - features Jan Bijvoet (Cordon, The Ardennes) as German scientist Theodor Koch-Grünberg searching for plants with healing powers in the Amazon basin.

More local talent was involved in A Quiet Passion, the new feature by British director Terence Davies, which had its world premiere in the Berlinale Special programme. The cast includes actors from Flanders such as Noémie Schellens (Behind the Clouds), Sara Louise Vertongen (The Divine Monster), Maurice Cassiers (De Ridder) and Simone Milsdochter. Heads of department from Flanders working on the project included production designer Merijn Sep; art director Toon Mariën; key grip Bo Molderez; gaffer Dieter van der Eecken; and sound mixer Johan Maertens.

Berlinale Talents, a yearly platform for young film professionals, included four Flemish participants among the 300 selected: documentary filmmaker Griet Teck (Feel My Love); Off World producer Frederik Nicolai (Archibelge, Rêve Kakudji); producer and sales agent Ben Vandendaele (The Way of All Flesh); and freelance film critic and journalist Ruben Demasure.

The European Film Market (EFM) line-up, meanwhile, included The Ardennes; Belgica; The Land of the Enlightened; Galloping Mind; Sum of Histories; Paradise Trips; the 3D-animation feature Robinson Crusoe; Johan Grimonprez’s documentary Shadow World; and the new fiction series Beau Séjour from Kaat Beels and Nathalie Basteyns. Also screening in the Market were Black, Cafard and six co-productions with Flanders: A Quiet Passion; Keeper; Clean Hands; Les premiers les derniers; Diamant noir; and Strike a Pose.

Black; The Ardennes; The Land of the Enlightened; Galloping Mind; Sum of Histories; Paradise Trips; Robinson Crusoe; Shadow World; Cafard; Keeper; Clean Hands; Les premiers les derniers; and Strike a Pose received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. Beau Séjour was supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Media Fund of Media Minister Gatz. The Ardennes; Belgica; Galloping Mind; Paradise Trips; Cafard; Clean Hands; A Quiet Passion and Diamant noir were 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 Monday 15 February 2016

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