Just six months ago, the Brussels-Capital Region government created the brand-new Brussels audiovisual co-production fund. With an annual co-production budget of 3 million euro, the fund launched a first call to the sector at the end of May. Many professionals duly responded and the fund’s board of directors and managing director set about choosing from a plethora of high quality projects. The final decision has been made: the screen.brussels fund has opted to invest a total sum of €1,685,000, split between 14 projects.
‘Le fidèle’ by Brussels-based director Michaël Roskam, from Savage Film (Molenbeek). A film very loosely inspired by the life of Brussels gangster Patrick Haemers, starring Mathias Schoenaerts and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
‘Dode Hoek’ from Brussels director Nabil Ben Yadir and produced by Antilope Joyeuse (Brussels), Wrong Men (Saint-Gilles) and Eyeworks (Zaventem). Jan, the most popular cop in Flanders, resigns from the drug squad to join a populist and nationalist party. With Peter Van Begin, Jan Decleir and David Murgia.
‘La promesse de l’aube’ is directed by Eric Barbier and produced by Nexus Factory (Liège and Forest). This historical fresco retraces the life of the famous novelist Romain Gary. A large part of the special effects will be produced in Brussels, with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Pierre Niney in the main roles.
‘Au-dessus des lois’ by François Trouckens and Jean-François Hensgens, from Versus Production (Liège and Schaerbeek). An action film about a high-flying armed robber accused of murdering an investigating judge. With Olivier Gourmet, Lubna Azabal (Brussels), Tibo Vandenboore (Brussels) and Anne Coesens (Brussels).
‘Une part d’ombre’ by Brussels director Samuel Tilman in what will be his first full-length feature film. Proposed by Eklektic Productions (Ixelles), the plot centres on a dad suspected of committing a murder while on holiday. Some of his loved ones begin to doubt his innocence. With Fabrizio Rongione (Brussels), Myriem Akheddiou (Brussels) and Arieh Worthalter (Brussels).
‘La fine équipe’ by Ismaël Saïdi in conjunction with Scope Pictures (Rixensart and Ixelles). This popular comedy shot entirely in the Belgian capital tells the story of a former five-a-side football star from Brussels who has to try to win a tournament in order to pay off his debts. With Reda Chebchoubi (Brussels), James Deano (Brussels) and Kody (Brussels).
‘De Premier’ by Erik Van Looy, produced by FBO (Strombeek Bever). In this all-Belgian thriller, the Prime Minister is kidnapped. He will be released on condition that he assassinates Madam President of the United States scheduled to visit Belgium. With Koen De Bouw, Dirk Roofthooft, Charlotte Vandermeersch and Saskia Reeves.
‘The Street Party’, a full-length animated film from Caviar Antwerpen in co-production with Zentropa (Denmark). This relatively low-budget full-length animation film will generate a significant volume of work for two Brussels animation studios located in Koekelberg and Molenbeek.
TV series also set to benefit, with three exciting projects backed:
‘Les pionniers’, a series of 10 52-minute episodes directed by Alain Brunard is produced by To Do Today (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert). Also co-funded by the FWB-RTBF fund, this legal series explores the new ‘legal Far West’ that is the lnternet. An ambitious Brussels lawyer has just hired her half-sister, a hacker on a suspended sentence whom she barely knows. Sixty-seven days of filming in Brussels, with a whole host of Brussels acting talent including Olivia Harkay, Lula Béry and Adrien Letartre.
‘Generatie B’, a series of 6 30-minute episodes designed and directed by Pieter Van Hees and Joost Vandecasteele (Brussels) and produced by De Mensen (Zaventem). To be broadcast on Canvas at the start of 2017, this series transports us to a world where Belgium’s credit rating has been downgraded from AA+ to B. With Eva Binon, Jeroen Perceval, Ella June Henrard, Jeroen Van Der Ven (Brussels), Efrat Galai (Brussels) and Chiel Van Berkel (Brussels).
‘Transfert’, a series co-produced by Arte, directed by Olivier Guignard and Antoine Charreyron. Produced by Be Films (Ixelles), this science-fiction series of six 52-minute episodes depicts a character that has undergone a ‘transfer’ after five years in a coma. His mind has merged with someone else’s body and he has become a stranger to his loved ones. Starring Brussels actor Arieh Worthalter, this series was shot almost entirely in Brussels.
Two documentaries and one web series
As for productions with more modest budgets, two documentaries and a web series were also selected at this first investment session.
‘La vie à venir’ from Brussels director Claudio Capanna and produced by Stenola (Brussels) goes behind the scenes at the ‘very premature neonatal’ unit at Erasmus Hospital.
‘La langue rouge’ by director Violaine de Villers paints a portrait of contemporary Brussels artist Walter Swennen, a documentary produced by Aligator Film (Ixelles).
And finally, the web series Euh Saison 2 is the continuation of the popular web comedy series co-produced by the RTBF’s web creation department and Grizzly Films (Schaerbeek). It has already won over Canal Play France, which contributes 50% of the production costs. Euh is all about Benoît, a guy incapable of making choices. With Gregory Beghin (Brussels), Erika Sainte (Brussels) and Mourad Zegendhi (Brussels).
One public euro invested per 7.6 euro spent in Brussels
Since it is an economic fund, additional attention has been paid to projects that generate structural effects in terms of jobs for Brussels talents and the order book of audio-visual service providers sustainably based within the Brussels-Capital Region. For this first session, commitments came to over €12,813,000 of audiovisual expenses in the region, meaning an impressive average ratio of 760% between the amounts invested and the expenses generated within the Brussels-Capital Region.
Ten of the 14 projects showcase Brussels!
This very eclectic selection should also generate quite significant returns in terms of image for the region, since locations around Brussels will feature strongly in the vast majority of the projects selected.
Brussels backs three Flemish projects and three Walloon projects
The projects chosen are also highly diverse in terms of formats, budgets and production companies. Brussels production firms present eight of them, while Flanders and Wallonia-based companies provide three apiece. The particular diversity of these projects also reflects the capital’s highly multicultural nature.
Complementary with other regional funds
This selection also confirms, if needed, the complementary nature of the regional funds to which producers can apply and, in certain cases, combines, as ‘Le Fidèle’ is backed by the three regional funds, ‘Dode Hoek’ by Screen Flanders and screen.brussels, and ‘Au-dessus des lois’ by Wallimage and screen.brussels.
Next session in October 2016
The second 2016 session of screen.brussels is scheduled for the end of October, with the deadline date for submitting applications set for Thursday 20 October 2016 and a final decision expected at the end of November 2016.
The budget available will be €1,315,000.
We would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that it is the submission date that triggers the start date for the eligibility of invoices and that producers can submit their projects ahead of the 20 October 2016 deadline.