Robin Pront’s feature debut The Ardennes and Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah’s second feature Black are to receive their world premieres as part of the ‘Discovery’ strand at this year’s 40th Toronto International Film Festival (10-20 September). The animated short Paradise as well as five co-productions with Flanders also made it into the final selection. Finally there’s also the omni-presence of Flemish heartthrob Matthias Schoenaerts.

Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF)The Ardennes (D’Ardennen) is Robin Pront’s feature debut, starring Jeroen Perceval (Borgman, Bullhead), Kevin Janssens (Storm Force) and Veerle Baetens (The Broken Circle Breakdown). It’s the story of two brothers. When a brutal robbery goes hopelessly wrong, Dave manages to run off leaving his brother Kenneth behind. Four years later, his brother is released from prison and much has changed. Dave has his life back on track and is trying to help Kenneth wherever possible, but is witnessing how his highly-strung brother tries to win back his ex-girlfriend Sylvie. After Toronto the film is also set to open the Film Fest Ghent in October.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah present their second feature Black in Toronto’s ‚Discovery’ programme. Based on Dirk Bracke’s novels ‘Black’ en ‘Back’, it’s the story of 15-year-old Mavela, a member of the notorious gang Black Bronx. She falls head over heels in love with the charismatic Marwan, a boy from the rival gang 1080'ers. The two young people are brutally forced to choose between loyalty to their gang or their love for each other. An impossible choice... or not?

Laura Vandewynckel’s stop-motion animated short Paradise, which premiered as part of Cannes’s Cinéfondation programme earlier on this year, is selected for the Festival’s ‘Short Cuts’ section. It’s the story of people heading for a better place on either side of the ocean. Although at times their paths do cross, they never really seem to meet. Paradise also won the filmmaker a VAF Wildcard.

Five co-productions with Flanders that will be shown at this year’s 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival are Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s (A Cat in Paris) animated Phantom Boy (TIFF Kids);  Couple in a Hole by Tom Geens (City to City); Alex van Warmerdam’s Schneider Vs. Bax (Contemporary World Cinema); The White Knights by Joachim Lafosse (Platform); and Keeper by Guillaume Senez (Discovery), besides The Ardennes the second feature in Toronto to have Bart Van Langendonck of Savage Film (Bullhead, Galloping Mind) as a producer attached.  

Besides these films there’s also Matthias Schoenaerts’ omni-presence in Toronto. The Festival selected two films in which the  Flemish actor plays: with Eddie Redmayne in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl (Special Presentations), and with Diane Kruger in Disorder (Maryland) by Alice Winocour (Gala Presentation).

Published on Thursday 20 August 2015

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