Nic Baltazar’s Time of My Life has been awarded the Grand Prix Hydro-Québec at the closing ceremony of the 32st edition of the International Film Festival of Abitibi-Témiscamingue (26-31 October). Helmer Peter Monsaert was also summoned to the awards stage where he received the Prix Communications et Societé for his feature debut Offline.

Time of My LifeThe Grand Prix Hydro-Québec is offered to the film best appreciated by the audience at the Canadian festival in Rouyn-Noranda. This year, visitors were particularly moved by Nic Balthazar’s Time of My Life, and the warmth and respect with which the director approached a sensible theme as euthanasia. In 2010, the same award already went to Hans Van Nuffel for his drama Oxygen, while Geoffrey Enthoven’s The Over The Hill Band nabbed the prize in 2009.

Based on a true story, Time of My Life tells the history of MS-patient Mario Verstraete who was not only instrumental in legalising euthanasia, but was also the first to make use of that new law in 2002. Koen De Graeve (The Misfortunates, Loft) takes the main lead, followed by Geert Van Rampelberg (Code 37, Hotel Swooni), Lotte Pinoy (The Emperor of Taste) and Viviane De Muynck (The Verdict). Nic Baltazar scripted Time of My Life; Peter Bouckaert produced the film for Eyeworks (The Verdict, Marina).

His first feature film Offline also earned Peter Monsaert the Prix Communications et Societé at the Canadian fest, because of the way his film ‘treats questions about freedom, justice and peace. Forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual support are the basic themes in this story.’

Offline tells Rudy’s story, a man who has been released from prison and has set himself two clear objectives: get back to work as a washing machine repairman, and – more importantly – become reconciled with the family he left behind. But an unexpected surprise during an online chat turns his world upside down. Produced by Annemie Degryse of Ghent-based Lunanime, the film sees Wim Willaert and Anemone Valcke as the principal characters.

Time of My Life and Offline both received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.

Published on Friday 1 November 2013

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