VAF supports 11 in doc round

Eleven new documentary projects are to receive funding from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). The projects are in different stages of production. Three of them received support via the Fund's Filmlab scheme.

Still from Grande Hotel, Lotte Stoops' previous projectProduction support went to Begijnen beginnen vanbinnen by Lotte Stoops, whose Grande Hotel premiered at this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam. The script is by Joachim Kurz and Ute Mügge-Lauterbach. Production company is Serendipity.

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Published on Monday 21 February 2011

Tour makes record bow with close to 1.9 million viewers

The Tour, Jan Eelen's nine-part Sunday night drama series on Vrt's Eén channel, got off to a flying start with a record-breaking ratings figure of close to 1.9 million viewers. This is the highest ever audience for the first episode of a series.

Much of The Tour was recorded during last year's Tour of Flanders classic road cycle race. The series presents the story of a number of people who, just like the cyclists in the race, have everything to win or to lose. Jan Eelen, who previously made such series as In the Gloria and The Island, wrote and directed.

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Published on Monday 21 February 2011

22nd of May sold to Italy

Koen Mortier's 22nd of May has been picked up by Italian distributor Movies Inspired, the film's international sales agent announced in Berlin. The film also received interest from buyers in countries including Germany, France and Switzerland, as well as from many fests around the globe. A Dutch release is scheduled for 22 May.

Still from 22nd of MayThe news was announced by Matteo Lovadina of Paris-based Reel Suspects which has been handling international sales on 22nd of May since the beginning of this year.

22nd of May received its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, and went on to other fests such as Rotterdam where it was shown in the special 35th anniversary programme, Return of the Tigers.

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Published on Thursday 17 February 2011

Bullhead scores in Belgium and takes Berlin

Michaël R Roskam's feature debut Bullhead continues to perform strongly at the local box office. After only two weeks on release, the film has passed the 150,000-admission mark in Belgium. In the meantime, the film has received its international premiere at the Berlinale, where it was well received by both audiences and critics.

Matthias Schoenaerts as Jacky in BullheadBelgian audiences don't seem to be able to get enough of Bullhead. After a strong 62,500-admission opening weekend, the film registered 150,000 admissions in less than two weeks. Thanks to strong word-of-mouth, the second week turned out to be even better than the opening one. In a few weeks’ time, the film will also be released in the French-speaking part of the country, which is very rare for a film from the north of the country.

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Published on Thursday 17 February 2011

Scorsese acquires Technocalyps animation

Legendary US helmer Martin Scorsese has acquired an animation from Frank Theys’ fascinating three-part documentary Technocalyps. The material will be used for A Short History of Progress, a documentary project by Mathieu Roy for which Scorsese acts as executive producer.

Still from the animation 'from ape to human'Scorsese got to know Roy as his assistant on The Aviator. A Short History of Progress is Roy's third documentary as a director. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), it is inspired by the best-selling book and CBC radio series by Ronald Wright about 'progress' and whether, paradoxically, this will be the cause of the extinction of the human race.

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Published on Monday 14 February 2011

Six documentaries about contemporary taboos

A collection of six documentaries about ‘contemporary taboos’ will air on Belgian TV channel Canvas from 8 March. The six are the result of a collaboration between Flemish pubcaster VRT and the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). They deal with subjects such as obesity, giving away a child for adoption, and families who have to deal with a suicide.

Still from 'Through Thick And Thin'The series is the result of a competition that was launched in 2009 when VRT and VAF announced that they were looking for creative documentaries that dealt with what the makers considered to be contemporary taboos. Each of the docs had to be able to lead to public debate about their respective subjects.

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Published on Friday 11 February 2011

TF1 takes on Santa’s Magic Crystal

TF1 International has acquired world rights to 3D animated family adventure Santa’s Magic Crystal by Antti Haikala. The feature is a co-production between Epidem ZOT (Finland), and Belgian companies Skyline Entertainment  and Araneo. Currently in post-production, the $9 million project will hit the big screens at Christmas this year. A 4D IMAX version is also in the works.

Still from Santa's Magic CrystalHaikala signed for the production design on Niko and the Way to the Stars, which was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Animated Film. In Santa’s Magic Crystal, Santa Claus is confronted with his evil twin, Basil. Once a year, thanks to the power of his Magic Crystal, Santa multiplies into millions of versions of himself and leaves his hi-tech headquarters in the Arctic Circle to bring presents to all the world’s children. But this year, Basil has a diabolical plan.

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Published on Thursday 10 February 2011

Cartoon Movie presents Cat, Crystal and Majorettes

Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Feliciolli’s A Cat in Paris, which is part of this year’s Generation K+ programme at the Berlinale, will get a special screening at Cartoon Movie, the co-production platform for European animated features that takes place in Lyon (2-4 March). Antti Haikala’s The Magic Crystal, co-produced by Luke and Lucy producers Skyline, will also be presented. A third animation title in which a Flemish producer (Walking the Dog) is involved is Majorettes by Benoît Féroumont, which is in the 'in development' section.

Cartoon MovieA total of 55 selected projects are to be pitched in four categories – concept, development, production and completed films – at Cartoon Movie this year. Among the completed films are both A Cat in Paris, which is co-produced by the Flemish Lunanime, and The Magic Crystal, in which Skyline operates as co-producer. Skyline’s CGI animated Luke and Lucy & The Texas Rangers (directed by Wim Bien and Mark Mertens) screens at the Berlinale’s EFM (10-20 February) where it is being sold by Delphis Films from Montreal. Majorettes by Benoît Féroumont (Dji vou veu volti) is presented in the ‘in development’ programme.

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Published on Tuesday 8 February 2011

Bullhead opens big in Belgium

Michaël R Roskam’s feature debut Bullhead registered an outstanding 62,500 admissions in its opening weekend, putting the crime drama in a solid number-one position at the local box office. The film will receive its international premiere at this year’s Berlinale, where it is shown as part of the Panorama Special section. Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales.

Matthias Schoenaerts in BullheadBullhead is an exciting tragedy about fate, lost innocence and friendship, about crime and punishment, but also about conflicting desires and the irreversibility of a man’s destiny. 
The film tells the story of Jacky Vanmarsenille, a young cattle farmer who is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious beef trader. But the assassination of a federal police investigator, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky’s past, set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences.

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Published on Monday 7 February 2011

Mr. Nobody picks up six Magrittes

Jaco Van Dormael’s epic Mr. Nobody was top of the heap at the inaugural edition of the Magritte du Cinéma, the French-speaking Belgian film awards. The film received awards in six categories: Best Film, Best Director, Best Script, Best Photography, Best Editing and Best Original Score.

Mr. NobodyBest Acting awards went to Anne Coesens for her role in Illegal and Jonathan Zaccaï for Elève libre. Christelle Cornil (Elève libre) and Jan Decleir (The Barons) grabbed the Best Supporting acting awards. Best newcomers were Pauline Etienne (Elève libre) and Joffrey Verbruggen (La regatta).

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Published on Monday 7 February 2011

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