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Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Where is Anne Frank © Ari Folman

In its sixth session, screen.brussels invests one million euro in 10 projects

The screen.brussels fund has selected 10 coproduction projects that place Brussels and its audiovisual sector firmly in the spotlight. Whether by way of documentaries focusing on our capital and its cultural heritage, the promotion of the area through numerous days of filming or the involvement of our performers and specialist companies in large-scale productions, the projects in which screen.brussels has opted to invest are helping to put the Brussels region on the international audiovisual map.

Four feature-length feature films, including an animation film

Five is The Perfect Number

Produced by Potemkino (Brussels), this Italian project is the first film by artist Igor Tuveri. It takes us to the streets of Naples where Peppino, a former hitman, is seeking to avenge the bloody murder of his son, with the help of his old pal Totò and also Rita whom he never stopped loving. This is the director’s film adaptation of his comic book of the same name which has enjoyed great success and won numerous international awards, most notably Book of the Year (2003) at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The movie’s cast includes various Italian and international stars such as Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty) and Valeria Golino (Respiro, 36) in leading roles. All of the post-production work was done in Brussels at The Fridge (Koekelberg) for the VFX and editing, and at Sonicville (Koekelberg) for the sound.

La Frontière

Produced by Versus Production (Liège), this film focuses on Axelle, Conso and Dominique, three friends who have nothing in common except crossing the Franco-Belgian border together every day. In order to live decently on one side (in Roubaix), they work as prostitutes on the other (in Belgium). Directed by Brussels’ very own Frédéric Fonteyne (Tango Libre, A Pornographic Affair, Gilles’ Wife), this dramatic feature-length movie uses the services of 35 local technicians as well as teams from KGS (Schaerbeek) for the machinery, Sonicville (Koekelberg) for the editing and post-synchronisation, ADN Studio (Schaerbeek) for the titles and Agent (Schaerbeek) for the laboratory. The cast includes two French actor-directors, Sara Forestier (Games of Love and Chance, How Much Do You Love Me?, Elementary, Standing Tall) and Noémie Lvovski (Demain et tous les autres jours, Camille Rewinds, Feelings) alongside Annabelle Lengronne (La fine équipe, Mercuriales), not to mention numerous Brussels residents in secondary roles. Viewers with local knowledge will also recognise Laeken’s Cité Modèle, which will host two days of shooting.

Ma mère est folle

Produced by Nexus Factory (Forest), this comedy brings to the screen the off-beat tale of the equally quirky Nina, as she travels between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam trying to rebuild her relationship with her son, as well as transporting and selling cannabis together with a semi-homeless singer. Amusing and bizarre in equal measure, this film is the latest opus from Diane Kurys (Peppermint Soda, Children of the Century, Sagan) and features Fanny Ardant (Ridicule, 8 Women, Finally, Sunday!) and the singer Vianney, as well as Arielle Dombasle and Patrick Chesnais. Alongside them, the bright young Brussels talent Jules Rotenberg will play Nono, another of the main roles. A large part of the filming will take place in Brussels (17 days out of 30), with 35 technicians involved, plus help from Audiosense (Evere) for the sound equipment, Backstage (Schaerbeek) for the detection, Boxon (Ixelles) for the mixing and sound effects, Studio L’Équipe (Evere) for the image post-production and UFX (Ixelles) for the digital effects. The film is also backed by Wallimage.

Where is Anne Frank?

Produced by Walking The Dog (Genk), this new feature-length animated movie by Ari Folman (Waltz with Bachir, The Congress, The Horse Boy) adapts the iconic diary of Anne Frank by bringing to life Kitty, her imaginary friend, in Europe of today. With 345 production days in Brussels and 25 animation technicians involved, this project places the capital firmly on Europe’s animation map. It offers an ideal showcase for the expertise of our studios and specialist firms, such as l’Enclume (Koekelberg) and Squarefish (Molenbeek) for the animation, plus The Fridge and Sonicville (Koekelberg) for the image and sound post-production respectively. As well, the project has secured the support of Screen Flanders.

Two international television series:

Les Misérables

Produced by Czar (Molenbeek). Since its publication in 1862, Victor Hugo’s work has kept all of its narrative power and popular appeal and remains a paean to courage and love in the face of injustice. The prolific English screenwriter Andrew Davies (War and Peace, House of Cards, Mr Selfridge) is adapting this literary great as a 6x52 min mini-series for the BBC, and the production will be filming in Brussels for 28 days, with Tom Shankland (The Missing) as director and 35 local technicians. Over 20 smaller parts will also be played by performers from Brussels opposite stars such as Dominic West (The Square, The Wire, The Affair), David Oyelowo (Selma, Nightingale) and Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror,). The series is also being supported by Screen Flanders.

Black Spot, Season 2

Produced by BE films (Ixelles). After the success of Season 1, the police series Black Spot has earned a second season, again centred on the inhabitants of Villefranche, a small French town cut with no phone reception. The series is using 22 Brussels-based technicians and performers, with contributions from UFX (Ixelles) for the special effects and from Sonicville and Backstage (Koekelberg) for the sound editing and post-synchronisation. Alongside Thomas Doret and Renaud Rutten, the cast also includes Brussels’ actor Laurent Capelluto (Don’t tell her, Heartstrings, The Returned), along with Olivier Bonjour (Unité 42, Public Enemy, How I Met My Father).

Four feature-length documentaries

Bains publics

Produced by Altitude 100 Production (Saint-Gilles), this feature-length documentary literally immerses us in one of the capital’s most iconic and vibrant locations: Les Bains de Bruxelles. Some 65 years on from their opening at the heart of the Marolles, the two swimming pools and public showers remain a real Brussels’ melting pot of people from all age groups, cultures and social classes. Led by Brussels’ director Kita Bauchet, the 100% local crew shot the whole movie within the baths’ walls and the immediate surroundings. Other noteworthy contributions came from Aléa Jacta (Saint-Gilles) for the sound post-production, the recording studios Rec And Roll (Schaerbeek), the laboratory at Studio l’Équipe (Evere) and Mikros Image (Schaerbeek) for the colour grading.

Nos aubes perdues

Produced by Néon Rouge (Laeken), this feature-length documentary takes us inside the young offenders’ unit at Saint-Hubert prison, where a dozen or so teenagers are serving lengthy sentences under the supervision of the unit’s staff. Shot over the course of a year following the introduction of a new educational project, the production crew is almost all from Brussels with director Eric d’Agostino (La nef des fous) at the helm. Various specialist Brussels’ firms, both new and established, are involved in the project, such as All In (Koelekberg) for the editing, Pics and Sound (Ixelles) for the sound post-production, Audiosense (Evere) for equipment hire, Eye Lites (Schaerbeek) for camera hire, Studio l’Équipe (Evere) for image and sound post-production, plus The Fridge (Molenbeek) and Charbon Studio (Forest) for image post-production.

Remember Souvenir

Produced by Artémis Production (Schaerbeek), this feature-length documentary takes us on a guided tour of the now-abandoned former headquarters of the Solvay company, led by the artist Denis Meyers. By covering every available surface with spray paint, he creates an unusual and ephemeral work within this labyrinthine building that was destroyed not long after. A project that was born spontaneously, this documentary has now acquired a professional Brussels basis with, as well as production by Artemis, the involvement of eight technicians including the two directors (Nicolas Dedecker and Benoit Baudson), plus sound and image post-production by Les Productions du Radiant (Schaerbeek (Schaerbeek) and Studio l’Équipe(Evere).

Totems et Tabous

Produced by Simple Productions (Brussels), this documentary is set in the empty corridors of Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) as it undergoes refurbishment. We hear the voice of a ghost who haunts the premises and who makes us consider the history of colonisation, African cultural heritage, Europe’s reconciliation with its colonies… Scheduled for release to coincide with the reopening of the revamped museum in late 2018, it will be shown on numerous TV channels (RTBF, VRT, ARTE…) and in the coproducing countries (Switzerland and the Netherlands). The crew consists of 9 Brusselites, including Daniel Cattier in the director’s chair, while Studio l’Équipe and Axis One (Evere) are providing the image and sound post-production and equipment hire respectively.

Brussels’ producers hard at work

Of the 10 chosen projects, 8 are being coordinated by producers based within the Brussels-Capital Region, while the remaining two are the work of Walloon and Flemish producers. What’s more, over half of these projects are majority-Belgian, with the other half being coproduced internationally.

Brussels’ ‘Animation Valley’ gaining kudos

Whether for production (Where is Anne Frank? by Ari Folman) or post-production (5 is the Perfect Number), more and more specialist Brussels’ companies are working on international-level projects that are showcasing their tremendous expertise. Several of them are also based in the Canal area, which has led to the area being dubbed Brussels’ ‘Animation Valley’.

Real profits for the Brussels’ economy

By contributing to the funding of these 10 projects, screen.brussels is helping to trigger a leverage effect for the capital’s job market and economy, as for every euro committed, another €7.85 will be spent on technicians’ salaries or on invoices from firms based in the Brussels-Capital Region.

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