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Thursday, 17 June 2021
Les combattantes_1

Fourteen mainly Belgian and women-led projects selected during the 16th session of screen.brussels fund

The 16th session of screen.brussels fund has invested €1.1 million in the production of 14 projects, which should lead to a return of €19 million in audiovisual spending in Brussels. Most of the projects are being produced in Belgium by Brussels-based production companies. Seven projects are directed by women, and seven women are involved in production. The projects include six feature-length fiction films, one television series, two animation projects, two documentaries, two digital series, and for the first time, one podcast. Here is a look at the selection:

Six feature-length fiction films

L’amour selon Dalva

Feature-length film produced by Hélicotronc (Saint-Gilles) with Tripode Production (France), written and directed by Emmanuelle Nicot (Brussels). For her first feature-length film, Nicot tells the story of 12-year-old Dalva who is abruptly removed from her father’s care. She is furious and does not understand why she is being separated from her father. Placed in a group home and sent back to school, Dalva gradually begins to understand that behind what she had always known as ‘love’, something else was hiding. Virtually all of the audio post-production will be done in Brussels by Studios Alea Jacta (Saint-Gilles) and Studio l’Équipe (Evere). The young female filmmaker will be heading a Brussels-based crew of nearly 40 people, including all department heads.

Last Dance

Feature-length film produced by Need Productions (Uccle) with Box Productions (Switzerland), written and directed by Delphine Lehericey (Brussels). At age 75, Germain leads a contemplative life in retirement, mixing a certain laziness with a dash of misanthropy. Lise, his wife of 50 years, takes care of everything around the house and happily fills her free time with artistic activities and volunteering. When Lise dies suddenly, Germain feels smothered by his family who try to keep a close watch on him despite his wishes. The entire post-production will be done in Brussels, including image at Stempel (Anderlecht) and audio at Alea Jacta (Saint-Gilles), while the filmmaker and her director of photography will be heading a crew that includes 14 Brussels-based technicians. The cast includes Jean-Benoît Ugeux (Brussels)  alongside François Berléand and Astrid Whettnal in the leading roles.

Le paradis

Feature-length film produced by Tarantula (Liège) with Menuetto Film (Antwerp) and Silex (France), directed by Zeno Graton (Brussels) and co-written by Clara Bourreau (Paris). The young Brussels-based filmmaker completed a Cinéfondation residence in 2016-2017. Le paradis is a love story between two teenage boys, Joe and William, in a youth detention centre. Joe and William fall in love. But to be with each other, they’ll have to break the law. This romantic drama will have a crew of nearly 40 Brussels-based people, including three department heads, while the cameras and electrical equipment will be supplied by Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek). The cast includes Eye Haïdara (Le sens de la fête, Un homme d’honneur) and Jonathan Couzinié (Les héros ne meurent jamais, Il était une seconde fois).

The Wall

Feature-length film produced by Altitude 100 Production (Saint-Gilles) with Beofilm Pictures (Denmark) and Les Films Fauves (Luxembourg) and directed by Philippe Van Leeuw (Belgium). After The Day God Walked Away and Insyriated, both winners of multiple awards, the Belgian filmmaker paints a dark portrait of post-Trump America through a woman, Jessica Comley, who is a border patrol cop at the Mexico-United States border where many migrants cross. A small Brussels-based crew of three technicians will support filming in the United States, and all post-production will be done in Brussels: image at Stempel (Anderlecht) and audio at Piste Rouge (Forest), Agent (Schaerbeek) and Boxon (Ixelles). The cast will include Luxembourg’s Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, The Young Karl Marx) in the leading role.

The Silent Treatment

Feature-length film produced by Minds Meet (Brussels) with Artémis (Schaerbeek), Laokoon Film (Hungary), Volya Films (Netherlands) and Soilfilms (Germany). The film is written and directed by Caroline Strubbe (Brussels). Third part of a trilogy from the Brussels director-screenwriter, after Lost Person Area and I’m the Same I’m an Other, The Silent Treatment is a film about how imagination and creativity can help us process traumas in order to make peace with our past. It plunges us into the story of Tess, an odd 18-year-old Belgian woman with Stockholm syndrome, who stalks an introverted, fortysomething Szabolcs in Budapest. The project will shoot for about 10 days in Brussels, and almost all post-production will be done by Studio l’Équipe (Evere) for audio and Lux (Brussels) for images. There will also be about 10 Brussels-based technicians on the crew.

Tori et Lokita

Feature-length film produced by Les Films du Fleuve (Liège) with Savage Films (Flanders) and Archipel 35 (Paris). In this new project by award-winning filmmakers Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Wallonia) and Luc Dardenne (Brussels), a young boy and a teenage girl who’ve arrived alone from Africa pit their unbreakable friendship against the cruel conditions of their exile in Belgium. Most of the post-production will  take place in Brussels at Boxon (Ixelles). The cast will include several actors who have appeared in previous Dardenne brothers’ films such as Baptiste Sornin (Les apparences, Two Days, One Night, Losers Revolution), Marc Zinga (The Unknown Girl, The Mercy of the Jungle,) and Claire Bodson (Young Ahmed).

One television series

L’Opéra (Season 2)

Television series produced by Belga Productions (Braine-L’Alleud) with Label Victoria Production (France). Directed by Cécile Ducrocq, Stéphane Demoustier and Jean-Baptiste Pouilloux, this second season will see a new start for Zoé who has just rejoined the company and is trying to win back her place. However, a serious accident upsets her plans and changes everything. Now, for Zoé, it’s no longer about rejoining the troop, it’s about reinventing herself. On her side, Flora is now officially part of the Corps de Ballet. Filming will take place in Brussels for about 30 days, and part of audio post-production will be done at Sonhouse (Molenbeek) and image post-production at Studio l’Équipe (Evere). In all, more than 60 Brussels-based technicians will work on the series. It should be noted that screen.brussels already provided support for the first season during its January 2020 session.

Two animation projects

Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness

Animated feature film produced by nWave Pictures (Forest) and Octopolis (France). The project is directed by Ben Stassen (Wallonia) and Benjamin Mousquet (Brussels), from a screenplay by David Collard (United Kingdom). Young Chickenhare is the adopted son of a famous hare adventurer. Traumatised after being constantly mocked for being different, he disguises himself as a hare. Convinced that he can prove himself by finding the Hamster of Darkness, he embarks on a quest accompanied by his faithful servant Abe, a sarcastic turtle, and Meg, a skunk and martial arts expert he meets on the way. As with the previous projects from the leading light of the Brussels Animation Valley, Son of Bigfoot and Bigfoot Family, production of this feature-length film was done almost entirely in Forest, with support from more than 50 Brussels-based technicians for two years! In addition, the film’s score will be composed by the Brussels band Puggy.

Burnout Diary

A short animation film produced by Vivi Film (Molenbeek) and Studio Pupil (Netherlands). Directed by Dario van Vree (Netherlands), co-written with Eveline Hagenbeek (Netherlands) as an adaptation of the graphic novel ‘Burn-out dagboek’ by Dutch illustrator and writer Maaike Hartjes. When illustrator Maaike has a burnout, her greatest fear becomes reality: she can no longer be perfect. As she searches for herself, she falls down and gets back up again, and learns to just be ‘good enough’. This 30-minute project depicting life during and after a burnout will involve five animation artists from Studio Souza (Molenbeek), another rising star in the Brussels Animation Valley and in charge of the Titina project in particular.

Two documentaries

Les combattantes

Documentary produced by Belgica Films (Brussels) with Alizé Production (Ixelles) and Le cinquième rêve (France). Directed by Henri de Gerlache and co-written with Valérie Grenon and Alexandra Ternant (France), this documentary shows the journey of committed young women who follow the example of Greta Thunberg, each different yet all driven by an energy that makes them capable of moving mountains. This is the collective story of a group of fighters driven by hope, commitment and extraordinary idealism. A look at the commitment of Anuna and Adélaïde (Belgium), Luisa (Germany), Léna (France), Leah (Uganda) and Artemisa (Brazil) as well as that of an extraordinary woman who came before them: Julia Butterfly. The project will provide work for a crew of five, including department heads. In addition, the entire post-production will be done in Brussels: image at ADN Studio (Schaerbeek) and audio at Sonix (Forest).

Petites

Documentary produced by Rayuela Productions (Schaerbeek) with Diplodokus (Louvain) and directed by Pauline Beugnies (Brussels). This documentary is a free-narrative account of the Dutroux case, told by that generation of children, now adults, who were exposed to sexual abuse in their homes. Their memories have changed over time, deformed by the media’s lens and by their child’s eyes. Strung together, their testimonials tell a highly personal version of this sordid case. A piece of collective memory. This archival documentary is a French-Dutch co-production, as the subject requires, and will be shot for 10 days (out of 28 total) in Brussels, where all post-production will also be done. In all, a dozen technicians, including four department heads, will be on the crew, and Brussels-based companies will be providing support: Chocolat-Noisette (Brussels) and SondR (Schaerbeek) for the sound studio and audio post-production, Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) for lighting equipment, KGS (Schaerbeek) for grip equipment, while subtitling will be done by Pulse Translations (Saint-Gilles).

Two digital series

Jacky & Lindsay

Web series produced by Daylight Films (Brussels) with Peggy Power Production (Brussels). Written by Brussels-based Mathilde Mosseray and Martin Goossens, this digital series presents Jacky and Lindsay who have been passionately in love for 20 years. Lindsay is eight months pregnant, and Jacky is wheelchair-bound. They grew up in a trailer park on the North Sea coast and have known nothing but hardship their whole lives. They’re now preparing for their new baby with stars in their eyes, but also with an endless stream of debt and the feeling that the hard times will never end. For this dramatic comedy, a dozen days of filming will take place in Brussels, where all post-production will also be done. This very Brussels digital series with support from RTBF will also cast its Brussels-based writers in the main roles, while almost all of the crew members and department heads come from Brussels. The project will also rely on equipment rented from Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) and grip equipment from KGS (Schaerbeek).

Messieurs pipi (Season 1)

Digital series produced by Cerf Volant Productions (Schaerbeek), directed by Grégory Beghin (Brussels) and written by comics Pablo Andres (Brussels) and GuiHome (Wallonia). This series of 10 three-minute comic episodes will introduce us to two losers who run the public toilets at a train station. Everything and everyone around them is in motion, but they’re always stuck in the same place. They hope for so much more, but for now, it’s all just hope. These episodes will be filmed entirely in Brussels, and all post-production will be done there as well. In all, with the exception of the comic GuiHome, the entire crew of about 20 are Brussels-based. And so are the companies: BFC (Evere) for camera rental, and Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) and Boxon (Ixelles) for image and audio post-production.

One podcast project

Écoute la ville qui brusselle

Podcast series produced by Luna Blue Film (Saint-Gilles) with Cineke (Brussels) and written and directed by Célia Dessardo and Lotte Nijsten (Brussels). In a series of short episodes, the ArchiBrussels Podcast will look at 20 contemporary architectural and urban planning projects in Brussels. A 19th-century factory transformed into a museum, a modern eco-friendly factory built in the heart of the city, a school with a suspended schoolyard, temporary uses for empty buildings that provide new spaces for surrounding neighbourhoods, and community gardens as acts of resistance. This bilingual French-Dutch podcast project will require about 50 days of sound recording and 66 days of post-production in Brussels. The podcast series will have a marked Brussels feel, both in terms of its narrative subject and the origins of its directors and sound engineer as well as production at Sysinfor (Saint-Gilles).

The majority of projects are Belgian and Brussels-based

Out of the 14 projects, 10 are receiving the majority of their funding from Belgium. L’amour selon Dalva, Le paradis, Tori et Lokita, The Wall, The Silent Treatment, Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness, Petites, Jacky & Lindsay, Messieurs pipi, and Écoute la ville qui brusselle. And 11 of the 14 have producers based in Brussels: Hélicotronc, Altitude 100, Minds Meet, nWave Pictures, Vivi Films, Rayuela Production, Need Production, Belgica, Daylight, Cerf Volant Productions, and Luna Blue Film.

Brussels-based women working as directors and producers

Seven women (out of 19 directors in all) will be directing the supported projects: Emmanuelle Nicot (L’amour selon Dalva), Pauline Beugnies (Petites), Delphine Lehericey (Last Dance), Célia Dessardo and Lotte Nijsten (Écoute la ville qui brusselle), Caroline Strubbe (The Silent Treatment) and Cécile Ducrocq (L’Opéra, Season 2) – what’s more, the first six are from Brussels. In addition, seven of the 14 projects are being produced by women working for Need Production, Les Films du Fleuve, Belga Films, Hélicotronc, Vivi Films, Rayuela Production and Cerf Volant Productions.

Audio format

Expanded since February 2021 to include audio formats, screen.brussels fund is supporting its first podcast with Écoute la ville qui brusselle, a 25-episode series about architecture and urban planning in the Brussels-Capital Region. The screen.brussels fund is currently the only economic fund to offer financing for this booming format, with the hope of helping to build structure and professionalise the audio side of the audiovisual industry.

Returns for the Brussels audiovisual industry

By injecting €1,106,500 into content production via its screen.brussels fund, the Brussels-Capital Region is counting on a return of €19.2 million in direct* audiovisual spending in the form of wages and orders for local businesses. In other words, the return for the Brussels economy shall be €17.30 per euro invested.

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