Screen.Brussels

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12 12 2016

Twelve co-production projects were chosen by screen.brussels fund during its second session

Breaking out of the confines of daily life or diving right into it: that is what the 12 projects selected by screen.brussels fund for its second session of 2016 have promised. The regional fund for audiovisual co-productions has fulfilled its mission of generating jobs and investments in the Brussels audiovisual sector. Whether they are about searching for dream giants or through the rubble of 22 March 2016, whether set in Art Deco Brussels or cyber Brussels, the 12 projects (feature-length films, television series, documentaries, SVOD) sweep us away and challenge us. A small tour:  

Nine feature films, including two animated films and one documentary

Ascension Day: In the streets of Brussels, three paths cross: three characters who never would have met other than during the tragic bombings of 22 March 2016. It’s an adventure that also features crossed paths as far as the co-production is concerned, with a Flemish Brussels production company Minds Meet (Laeken), a French Brussels one Artemis (Schaerbeek) and a Dutch neighbour (Phanta films) that collaborated on this Flemish film by Bas Devos, also from Brussels.

Drôle de père: Brussels director Amélie Van Elmbt has penned her second film in which a divorced father finds himself unexpectedly on his own with his daughter. Produced by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Les Films du Fleuve), this opus was shot in Brussels with a cast that brings together a large number of Brusselians, with the main roles being held by Xavier Seron and Lina Doillon, among others.

I Kill Giants: Adapted from a coming-of-age fantasy comic book, I Kill Giants boasts an international cast with Zoë Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) and is directed by Andres Walter (Oscar for the Best Live Action Short Film 2014). Where’s Brussels in all this? The Brussels co-production company Umedia (Ixelles) will be doing the special effects and the visuals in Brussels, with eight months of work for some 50 artists.

La part sauvage: Ben, 25, gets out of prison and fights against hate and Islamist temptations while trying to reconnect with his son. The first film from Brussels director Guérin van de Vorst, La part sauvage places Brussels at the heart of the story. Vincent Rottiers (Le monde nous appartient) leads the cast, which also includes Brussels residents in the main roles (Salomé Richard, David Murgia) for this production from Wrong Men North (Saint-Gilles).

Seule à mon mariage: With her first film, Marta Bergman of Brussels shows us the life of a young Gypsy woman leaving her country and her child to get married in Brussels with a stranger, in order to offer her family a better life. The film explores the streets of the capital, both onscreen and off, since the post-production images and sound are being handled at Alea Jacta and Des Airs (Saint-Gilles), and Studio l’Equipe (Evere).

The Happy Prince: Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Shrek 2) directs this feature-length film about the last days of Oscar Wilde, in which he acts together with Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man). Many Art Deco locations in Brussels (Le Métropole, Royal Gallery Saint-Hubert - Galeries de la Reine, Café Cirio, etc. ) are part of the filming of this co-production of Entre chien et loup (Schaerbeek), with special effects to be done by Nozon (Koekelberg).

Petit Vampire: In this animated film by Joann Sfar (Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, The Rabbi’s Cat), an orphan meets the Little Vampire and escapes into a dream universe in order to tame his dark thoughts. This is an international co-production project handled by the Compagnie Cinématographique (Saint-Gilles), which has entrusted a significant amount of work (16 full-time employees for one year) to the animation studio l’Enclume (Molenbeek). 

The Son of Bigfoot: A young boy is convinced that he is the son of Bigfoot in this 3D animated film by Ben Stassen, director of Fly Me To The Moon, a pioneering example of the genre. The creation of this feature-length film was led by nWave (Forest), one of the region’s biggest employers in the audiovisual sector (almost 100 full-time employees). Post-production is also staying in the capital thanks to Studio L’Équipe (Evere) and Blue Cry (Schaerbeek).

Ashcan: Willy Perelsztejn from Création et Memoires (Forest) has made a documentary on the  little-known history of the secret prison where the main Nazi leaders were incarcerated in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg after the Allied victory of 8 May 1945. In an original manner, the film will follow a stage production of the Théâtre National de Luxembourg based on the subject. The post-production images and sound as well as the dubbing will be done in Brussels by Triangle7 (Watermael-Boitsfort), Twins (Evere) and Sonicville (Koekelberg). 

For television, a fiction series and a documentary series

Unité 42: In ten 52-minute episodes, this Belgian cop series produced by Left Field Ventures (Ixelles) and already pre-purchased by France 2 focuses on the work of the Brussels Digital Unit, a special police unit that solves cyber crime. Supported by the Fonds spécial Fédération Wallonie Brussels-RTBF, eight of these episodes will take place in Brussels, which we will see under all its angles. There are also some 20 Brussels-based actors among the main and supporting cast. The series will be directed by a trio of Flemish directors. At the head of this triumvirate is Indra Siera, seconded by Roel Mondelaers and Hendrik Moonen.

Palais Royal: For this documentary series that takes a never-seen-before look at the investigation of the Brabant killers, we have an association of Flemish Brussels producers (Riche, Riche & Riche) and French Brussels ones (Thank You & Good Night). Two Brussels directors are at the helm: Manu Riche and Yves Hinant. The series will feature 12 episodes coproduced by VRT and RTBF as well as a 90-minute version for ARTE.

A series destined for SVOD

Funcorp: From the world of webseries, Brussels Video Crew (Watermael-Boitsfort) is producing seven 10-minute episodes destined for SVOD on CANALPLAY. This comedy series takes place in the 1990s in a newly created calendar manufacturing company that is falling prey to the emergence of new technologies. The entire project, from its offbeat spirit to the technical and artistic teams (14 people), is Made in Brussels.

More than 16 million generated from an investment of 1,315,000

screen.brussels fund has kept its promise, since the funds invested have had a leverage effect of more than 1223% in the Brussels audiovisual sector. The €1,315,000 invested in these 12 projects will generate €16 million in audiovisual expenditures (wages, post-production services, equipment hire, etc.), without counting indirect benefits such as for the services, hospitaliy and transport sectors. 

Women and first films in the spotlight

Two of the selected projects are being directed by women from Brussels: Amélie Van Elmbt with Drôle de père and Marta Bergman with Seule à mon mariage.  The latter is also one of the two first films of the selection, alongside La part sauvage by Guérin van de Vorst.

A very positive first report for the new Brussels fund, benefiting the Belgian audiovisual sector.

With €3 million invested in 2016, screen.brussels fund confirms its role as investor and essential partner in the financing of film and audiovisual productions in Belgium: out of the 26 projects supported in its first year, 19 are majority Belgian projects (13 in French and 6 in Flemish).   

The 14 projects selected in June 2016

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.

Eight full-length feature films selected, including one animation film

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.