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Thursday, 28 February 2019
Photos : Safia Kessas, Paloma Sermon-Daï, Banu Akseki, Rachel Lang, Ann Sirot.

Brussels women are in the spotlight at the 9th session of screen.brussels fund

Brussels, 28/02/19:In its first session of 2019, screen.brussels has selected 11 co-productions to receive funding, for a total of €1.12 million. Significantly, five of these projects will be directed or co-directed by women, and ten of them are supported by Brussels-based producers. The projects include seven feature films (five live-action, two animated), three documentaries and one television series. By employing professionals and firms from the Brussels-Capital region, these projects will lead to a return on investment of about 813% for the regional economy.*

Five live-action features

Lucky

Produced by La Compagnie Cinématographique (Brussels) and directed by Olivier Van Hoofstadt. To escape their lives of poverty, Willy and Tony try to steal a police dog to help them sniff out drug dealers’ stashes –but things get out of control. The only solution is to partner up with Caro, a dirty cop who’s being investigated by Internal Affairs. This off-beat French comedy from the Brussels-based director of Dikkenekhas a well-known cast, including Alban Ivanov (Le Grand bain, Le sens de la fête, La marche), Michaël Youn (Carbone, Vive la France, Iznogoud) and Florence Foresti (De plus belle, Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, Dikkenek). About 30 Brussels-based technicians and actors will be working on the film, including actor Yoann Blanc (La Trève, Une part d’ombre, Un homme à la mer). Schaerbeek-based company Eye-Lite will provide cameras and lighting, and Studio L’Équipe (based in Evere) and Boxon (Ixelles) will be working on audio post-production.

Mon légionnaire

Produced by Wrong Men  (Brussels) and directed by Rachel Lang. Nepalese, Vietnamese, Russians, Australians...these men from completely different origins and backgrounds now have one thing in common: they belong to the French Foreign Legion. In this highly codified world, Nikka, Vlad, Maxime, Thomas, Céline and Soumeya will cross paths in Corsica, a place of love and war. The cast includes Louis Garrel (The Dreamers, Le Redoutable). After Baden Baden, this will be the second feature film from Rachel Lang, a Brussels-based director who spent several years in the French Army, reaching the rank of lieutenant. As well as employing about 15 Brussels-based technicians, the entire post-production will also be done in Brussels. Studio L’Équipe (Evere) will be working on the audio post-production and Mikros (Schaerbeek) on VFX. Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) will provide the cameras and lighting, and KGS (Schaerbeek) the machinery.

Sans soleil

Produced by Frakas (Liège) and directed by Banu Akseki (Brussels). As solar flares hit the planet, Cyril, a teenager adopted by a wealthy family, sees a young woman appear, who looks just like his birth mother who died ten years before. This fleeting yet extraordinary apparition will turn his entire personality upside down. This arthouse-meets-genre film will star Louka Minella (The Unknown Girl) and the Brussels actress Sandrine Blancke (Toto the Hero, Sœur Sourire, La trève, No Fun) along with around 30 other Brussels-based actors in supporting or minor roles. Half of the filming and almost all of the post-production will take place in the Brussels region, meaning that 45 technicians and all heads of department will be local. We can note the contributions of Eye-Lite and KGS (Schaerbeek) for equipment, Alea Jacta (Saint-Gilles) for film editing and Agent (Schaerbeek) for audio post-production.

Valses de Vienne

Produced by Scope Pictures (Brussels) and directed by Marc Fitoussi (Copacabana, Call My Agent! season 3). Adapted from the novel ‘Betrayal’by Swedish author Karin Altvegen, this crime drama follows a woman on a journey through Vienna. Betrayed by her husband, she hatches a plot to get revenge on him –but the plot takes a turn for the worse. The main roles will be played by Karin Viard (Jalouse, Voyez comme on danse, The Bélier Family) and Yvan Attal (Heaven Will Wait, Le Brio, My Wife Is an Actress, The Patriots). There will be five weeks of filming in Brussels, where the Viennese interiors and exteriors will be reconstructed. Thirteen local technicians will be employed, and the film will receive support from Brussels companies such as Eye-Lite, KGS (Schaerbeek) and Cinetec (Ixelles) for equipment and machinery rental, while Studio L’Équipe (Evere) and Boxon (Ixelles) will handle sound effects and laboratory work, respectively.

...including one low-budget production

Une vie démente

Produced by Hélicotronc (Brussels) and directed by Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni (Brussels). Suzanne, an elegant and charismatic woman in her sixties, runs a contemporary art centre in Brussels. She starts going off the rails, stealing cars, cutting her neighbours’ hair while they sleep...and her son Alex understands why: she has a fatal neuro-degenerative disease known as semantic dementia, and it is seriously altering her behaviour. Half of the filming and all of the post-production will be done in Brussels, using a small crew of 15 people, all based locally. For equipment and post-production, Eye-Lite, TSF and KGS (Schaerbeek) have been hired. Chocolat-Noisette and Cobalt (Brussels) will handle audio and picture post-production, respectively, and Audiosense (Evere) will provide sound equipment.

Two animated features

The Son of Bigfoot 2

Produced by movie3D (Forest) and directed by Ben Stassen and Jérémie Degruson. After the first instalment, The Son of Bigfoot, this animated feature plunges us once again into the exploits of Adam, his mother Shelly, his father Bigfoot... and their troop of pets. After a mysterious disappearance, the whole gang gets together for a hilarious, colourful adventure. With a Brussels-based crew of over 50 people working for several months, this animated project will consolidate the reputations of nWave Studio and the Brussels-Capital region within the European animation industry. This project is also receiving support from Wallimage.

Heart of a Tower

Produced by Stacka (Koekelberg) and directed by Peter Budinsky. Ten-year-old Riki embarks on an adventure-filled journey in two different worlds. One, known as Yourland, is a fantastical world where anything is possible, and the other, reality, is grey, cold and filled with family problems. Alongside a brave young girl, his quest to save the world will help him discover the strength within his own heart. Heart of a Toweris an animated film entirely produced using a video game engine, Unity (check if it is really 100%[NS1] ), thanks to conversion software called Synk that has been developed with the support of Innoviris. The film therefore paves the way in genre filmmaking, allowing economies of scale on the technical side and making it easier to adapt the project for video games and virtual reality. Nearly €1 million will be spent on wages alone for animation specialists in Brussels, while The Fridge and Sonhouse Studio (Koekelberg) will also be providing their support for the project. Another star in the innovation sky for Brussels Animation Valley.

Three documentaries

Le prix de la déraison

Produced by AT-prod (Watermael-Boitsfort) and directed by Safia Kessas (Brussels). This highly topical documentary follows 29-year old Gaëlle as she goes about her daily life. She’s one of those people known as ‘returnees’. Having returned home after joining the Islamic State in 2015, she has lost custody of her daughter, whom she took with her on her mad journey to Raqqa. But it won’t be easy to reconnect with her child after their journey and her time in prison. The entire production and post-production of this documentary will be done in Brussels. Safia Kessas, a journalist and director of Section professionnelle,leads an almost exclusively Brussels-based crew and receives strong support from service providers at Boxon and Manneken Pix (Ixelles) for audio and picture post-production.

Petit Samedi

Produced by Michigan Film (Saint-Gilles) and directed by Paloma Sermon Daï (Brussels). This documentary follows the comings and goings of Damien Samedi, a long-time drug addict in his forties, who is continually on the prowl for money, love or a toaster to sell for a little cash. It is produced by an entirely Brussels-based crew, along with two investment start-ups, one French-speaking and the other Dutch-speaking, who are partnering up for their first feature-length film. The suppliers are also based in Brussels, with equipment rental from Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) and all post-production from Studio L’équipe (Evere) for picture and Charbon Cinéma (Forest) for audio.

Qu’est-ce que je fais là

Produced by YC Aligator film (Ixelles) and directed by Bertrand de Solliers (France). A plunge into the depths of the psychiatric emergency unit at Saint-Luc University Hospital in Brussels, this documentary follows the unit, day and night, where reality itself is called into question. Showing all the difficulties and distress that mental illness can cause, the film challenges our ability to listen, accept others and recognise their humanity. Filmed exclusively in Brussels with a crew of seven, including four local heads of depatment, its post-production was done almost entirely in Brussels, thanks to the services of Charbon cinéma (Forest), Alea Jacta, Des airs and Kinodoc (Brussels).

One TV series

Undercover, season 2

Produced by Les gens (Schaerbeek) and De Mensen (Zaventem) and directed by Peter Van Hees (Brussels) and Cécilia Verheyden (Heverlee). With Season 1 airing on the VRT channel and scheduled for worldwide streaming on Netflix, this hugely successful series has now been greenlit for a second season. The cast includes Tom Waes (De Zaak Alzheimer, Tomtesterom, Het Geslacht De Pauw). With about two weeks of filming and almost all post-production done in Brussels, the project will involve around ten technicians and will be using service providers such as Lites (Saint-Gilles) and Cinequanon (Bruxelles) for lighting and machinery rental, and Sonhouse (Koekelberg) for audio post-production.

Female directors and producers from Brussels

The 11 selected projects include six female directors, five of whom are based in Brussels:Banu Akseki (Sans soleil), Safia Kessas (Le prix de la déraison), Rachel Lang (Mon légionnaire) Paloma Sermon Daï (Petit Samedi) and Ann Sirot (Une vie démente). Six of the projects will also be produced by women: Valses de vienne, Une vie démente, Petit Samedi, Undercover season 2, Qu’est-ce que je fais là andSans soleil.

…Brussels-based and majority Belgian-funded productions

In addition, 10 of the 11 projects are being produced by Brussels-based companies - all except for Sans Soleil - and seven will be mainly funded by Belgian organisations: The Son of Big Foot 2, Le prix de la déraison, Petit samedi, Qu’est-ce que je fais là, Undercover season 2, Une vie démente, andSans soleil.

A low-budget feature

By supporting the project Une vie démente, brussels.screen fund is following the lead of the Centre du Cinéma, which in 2017 launched a call for projects in order to support young filmmakers. This film has already been selected - with three others - for backing from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, with the aim of supporting filmmakers making their first or second feature films and who are faced with time and budget constraints. This way, screen.brussels fund is showing that non-mainstream projects can also have a structural impact on the local industry, and can obtain financial support as long as they meet the candidacy requirements.

* A winning investment for the Brussels economy

The direct return on investment for the €1.12 million given to the audiovisual industry in this session will come to more than €17.5 million in spending promises. That’s €15 spent for every €1 invested! If we adjust the statistics to leave out the (exceptional) return of 4200% for the animation project produced by movie3D, we make a still very healthy return of 813%.

Photos: Safia Kessas, Paloma Sermon-Daï, Banu Akseki, Rachel Lang, Ann Sirot. 

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