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Friday, 15 October 2021
female directors Session 17_

Exceptional support for Brussels-based film and audiovisual projects: 20 projects funded during the 17th session of screen.brussels

The 17th session of screen.brussels is investing more than €1.75 million in the production of 20 projects, which should generate more than €14 million in audiovisual spending in Brussels. Most of these projects will be produced in Belgium by Brussels-based production companies. Also of note is the fact that 14 out of the 30 directors are women (46%) and that two of the projects are co-productions with Morocco. The projects include eight feature-length fiction films, five TV series, two animated projects, three documentaries, and two digital series.

Eight feature films

Fuga

Feature-length film produced by Clin d’œil Films (Beauvechain), Tu vas voir (France) and SNG Film (Netherlands). Written and directed by Mary Jimenez and Bénédicte Liénard (Brussels). In the heart of the Amazon forest, Saor, a young, androgynous Indian, has just buried his lover in her native village. Valentina has taken her secrets to the grave. By meeting the people who were her friends, Saor immerses himself in their memories. He pierces the  unsaid and gradually comes to understand the life of the woman he loved, to the point of horror. A large portion of the audio and visual post-production will be done in Brussels: by Boxon (Ixelles) for the sound editing and laboratory work, Benuts (Etterbeek) for the VFX, Babel Central (Anderlecht) for the subtitling, and Twilite (Bruxelles-Ville) for lighting rental. Half a dozen Brussels-based technicians will be part of the crew, including four department heads.

La bête dans la jungle (The Beast in the Jungle)

Produced by Frakas (Liège), this feature-length film is being co-produced with Aurora Films (France) and WILDart Films (Austria). The Beast in the Jungle is an adaptation of the novella of the same name by Henry James, originally published in 1903. Directed by Patric Chicha (France), this atmospheric film draws the audience into a world of nightlife. Brussels has been chosen as the principal filming location, particularly the famous Mirano nightclub. The production will be filmed in Brussels for 20 of the 30 scheduled shooting days. More than 25 crew members, including most of the department heads, come from the Brussels-Capital Region. A substantial portion of the post-production will also be done there. Sound effects have been entrusted to Studio l’Équipe (Evere), and Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) will supply high-tech equipment (cameras, lighting, etc.) to the film crew. The post-production studio Charbon-Studio (Forest) will also be part of the adventure.

Le bleu du caftan

Feature-length film produced by Velvet Films (Forest) and co-produced with Les films du Nouveau Monde (France) and Ali N’Production (Morocco). Le bleu du Caftan is a new project from director Maryam Touzani. After co-writing screenplays with director Nabil Ayouch in the past, she received a number of festival awards, including the FIFF, for her first feature-length film Adam. Looking at the love between two persons in the Sale Medina in Morocco, Le bleu du caftan addresses the subject of homosexuality in communities and environments where it is still taboo. Brussels-based actress Lubna Azabal has been cast in the leading role, with several other women filling key positions. A prime example is Virginie Surdej, from Brussels, who has already worked with Maryam Touzani on Adam and who, among other accolades, won the Magritte for Best Cinematography in 2018 as director of photography for Insyriated (2017, dir. Philippe Van Leeuw). In all, half a dozen Brussels-based industry names will be working on the project. The rental of cameras and lighting equipment will be handled by Panavisions Brussels (Schaerbeek).

Le plus vivant possible

Produced by Versus production (Liège), and co-produced with Haut et Court (France), The Reunion (Ghent) and Colonelle Films (Canada), Le plus vivant possible is the first feature-length film by Brussels director and INSAS film school graduate Delphine Girard. Her short film A Sister won a number of awards and was nominated for an Oscar in 2020; it also serves as a basis for this larger project. Nearly three-quarters of the filming will take place in Brussels, with 21 days out of the 27 planned. A significant portion of the post-production will also be completed in the Belgian capital. Studio L’Équipe (Evere), Audiosense (Evere) and Boxon (Ixelles) will supply equipment and/or services during production of this feature-length film. Other service providers will include SFX specialist Level 9 (Forest), L-Productions (Uccle) and motion graphics and VFX specialist Sam Bodson (Saint-Gilles). Special attention will be paid to gender equality during filming as well as throughout the film’s production process. There will be 18 women in the 29-member Brussels-based crew.

Panzi

This feature-length film is produced by Scope Pictures (Ixelles) with 1Divided (France) and is written and directed by Marie-Hélène Roux. Panzi is a biopic adapted from the book of the same name, published in 2014. The book was written by Dr Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of the Congo), known as the “Man Who Mends Women” and a graduate of Université Libre de Bruxelles, as well as DrnGuy-Bernard Cadière, currently head of department at Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels. These two men are renowned for their work in Eastern Congo, and Dr. Mukwege was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his countless operations on women who are survivors of violence. Panzi, a film about their story, will be partly filmed in Brussels, with 41 shooting days in the capital out of a total of 176. Post-production will be very Brussels-focused, with 114 days out of 135 scheduled to take place in Brussels. This international film will give a voice to the thousands of women still suffering from violence in Africa and in many other countries around the world. More than 30 department heads and crew members from Brussels will be working on this project. The Belgian actress Babetida Sadjo, winner of the Magritte for best supporting actress in 2016 for Waste Land, will be part of the cast. This will be an opportunity for her to work alongside renowned actors such as Tim Roth (î) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamonds, Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator) in the leading roles. A number of companies based in the Brussels-Capital Region will be providing their expertise: Testov, Dragon Capital and Production (Saint-Josse), Studio L’Equipe (Evere), PS Ma Soeur (Uccle) (run by post-synchronisation specialist Anais Letiexhe), mixing studio aGeNT Brussels, and sound editing studio Chocolat Noisette (Brussels-City). Caligo (Anderlecht) will handle set design, and SLM (Uccle) will supervise post-production. TSF Belgique (Schaerbeek) will supply equipment to the crew during filming.

Reines

This feature-length film is produced by Need Productions (Uccle) with Petit Film (France), Key Film (Netherlands), Deuxième Ligne (France) and Montfleuri Productions (Morocco). It will be written and directed by Yasmine Benkiran. The film deals with the issue of incarceration in Morocco and includes a long chase through the majestic, red plains of the Atlas Mountains. The story is filmed in Arabic and evokes the themes of parenthood; a road-trip movie with women placed front and centre. Translation and subtitling will be entrusted to Des Airs (Saint-Gilles). Two Brussels-based women will be heading up the set design and costume departments. Emily-Jane Torrens (Kursk, Emma Peeters) will be the script supervisor. Several Brussels-based technicians will also be working on the project (cinematography, costumes, production). Studio L’Équipe (Evere) and Eye-Lite will be providing their expertise, while VFX specialist Be Digital will be handling the digital special effects. Stempels Films (Anderlecht) will also be opening the doors of its laboratory for Reines. Lastly, Key Grip Systems (Schaerbeek) will supply equipment for filming.

Saving Mozart* 

Feature-length film produced by Saga Film (Ixelles), co-produced with Deal Productions (Luxembourg) and Film-Line Productions (Germany). Project directed by Gérard Corbiau (Brussels) and written by Andrée Deltour as an adaptation of the novel of the same name by R. Jerusalmy. Salzburg, 1939. Mozart's city has become the Third Reich’s cultural capital. Otto loves music and music alone, and he rages against the occupying forces' disdain and rejection of Jewish culture. Resistance could lead to salvation - but at the risk of his life. Inspired once again by the world of music, this project marks the return of the director Corbiau and his screenwriter spouse (Farinelli, The King is Dancing and The Music Teacher). The crew will include a small handful of four Brussels-based technicians, and service providers such as Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) for equipment rental and Boxon (Ixelles) for visual post-production and editing will also be involved. The cast for this international co-production will include Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, In Treatment, Vikings, Capital), Alan Cumming (Instinct, X-Men, The Good Wife, Golden Eye) and Ulrich Tukur (The Lives of Others, Amen, The White Ribbon).

*The film is no longer financially supported by screen.brussels (update 23/11/21)

The Belgian Wave

Feature-length film produced by Take Five (Saint-Gilles), directed by Jérôme Vandewattyne (Brussels) and written by Kamal Messaoudi and Jérome Di Egidio (Brussels). In the early 1990s, journalist Marc Varenberg and his cameraman disappeared under mysterious circumstances while investigating the Belgian Wave (a series of UFO sightings in Belgium between 1989 and 1993). Nearly 30 years later, two online reporters reopen the case in order to find out what actually happened. With funding from FWB for a low-budget production, The Belgian Wave plans to shoot in Brussels for 19 out of a total of 23 days, and all post-production will also be done in the city. Brussels-based service providers will also be involved, with cameras, grip equipment and lighting by Eye-Lite, KGS and TSF (Schaerebeek), respectively. Sound equipment and colour grading will be provided by Audiosense (Evere) and Mannexen Pix (Ixelles), and audio post-production and editing by Chocolat Noisette (Brussels-City) and Carbone 14 (Saint-Gilles). A very Brussels-oriented team, led by a trio of directors and screenwriters, will involve around 10 crew members from the capital.

Five TV series

Attraction

Series produced by Les Gens (Schaerbeek), directed by Indra Siera and written by Sophia Perié and Barbara Abel (Brussels). Agathe is a well-to-do housewife and mother of two, living in an elegant house. One day she begins to doubt her husband’s faithfulness, and discovers that Fred is hiding an awful secret. This suspense series of six 52-minute episodes has been selected by the RTBF/FWB Series Fund and will include 19 days of filming and 50 days of post-production in Brussels. Along with its two screenwriters, about 10 Brussels-based crew members will be working on this women-focused thriller.

Ennemi public (Public Enemy) (Season 3)

Series produced by Entre Chien et Loup (Schaerbeek), directed by Matthieu Frances (Brussels) and Gary Seghers (Wallonia), and written by a Brussels-based team of Matthieu Frances, Gilles De Voghel, Christopher Yates, Chloé Devicq, Christophe Beaujean and Camille Didion. Over the course of six 52-minute episodes, we follow Chloé on a quest to find her missing sister. To do this, she has to make Béranger revisit his criminal past, with the risk of re-awakening his killer instinct. This smash-hit RTBF/FWB series is back for a third season, with all post-production being done in Brussels. More than 20 Brussels-based crew members will be working on the show, as will a number of actors from the capital in leading roles - Stéphanie Blanchoud, Angelo Bison, Clément Manuel and Pauline Etienne. A number of Brussels companies will also be involved: Boxon (Ixelles) for audio and visual post-production, Rec’n Roll (Schaerbeek) for sound effects and Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) for equipment rental.

Hostage

Series produced by Lunanime (Flanders) with Kârnfilm (Sweden), based on the novel by Kristina Ohlsson and in the pure tradition of a Scandinavian thriller. Hostage is the second season of Stockholm Requiem. Its six intense 45-minute episodes cover a single day and a single crisis: a plane hijacking. The hijackers are seeking the release of Said Kehlifi, a Syrian professor arrested under murky circumstances by the Swedish secret services. Many of the shooting days will take place in Brussels (20 days out of 56). About 10 Brussels-based crew members will be involved, as will the companies Sonhouse (Koekelberg) and Manneken-Pix (Brussels-City) for part of the audio and visual post-production respectively.

Marie-Antoinette

Series produced by Les Gens (Schaerbeek), co-produced with Capa et Banigay (France), directed by Geoffrey Enthoven (Brussels) and Pete Travis (London), written by a quartet of London-based screenwriters: Deborah Davis, Louise Ironside, Avril Russel and Chloe Moss. This international historical series of eight 52-minute episodes will follow the trajectory of the young Dauphine Marie-Antoinette into a free-spirited, independent and charismatic fashion icon. A cheeky, modern look at a famous historical figure while highlighting her intelligence and complexity. Most of the post-production for the series (162 out of a total of 220 days) will take place in Brussels: Boxon (Ixelles) for audio and visual post-production, KGS (Schaerbeek) and Elsen Film Video (Evere) for grip equipment and camera rental, Paprika (Schaerbeek) for laboratory work, and Studio l’Équipe (Evere) for subtitling. The crew will also include seven Brussels-based technicians.

Roomies

Series produced by De Wereldvrede (Ghent), written and directed by Kato de Boeck (Brussels) and Flo Van Deuren (Antwerp). Bibi and Ama are two lesbian friends in their twenties. Hoping to become better versions of themselves, they move in to a Brussels flat together. Under the same roof, they each come to their own realisation: coming out doesn’t necessarily mean dropping the act. To produce the eight 25-minute episodes of this very Brussels-focussed series, 30 out of the 32 shooting days will take place in Brussels, and 110 of the 115 post-production days will also be done in the capital. Production will involve 26 technicians and actors from the Brussels-Capital Region, including all five department heads. Service providers such as Bruks Media (Evere) for audio post-production, Mikros (Schaerbeek) for visual post-production, Lites (Saint-Gilles) for camera and lighting equipment, Ciné Qua Non (Brussels-City) and Citizen Ciné Services (Forest) for grip and other equipment will also be involved.

Two animated projects

Interdit aux chiens et aux italiens (No Dogs or Italians)

Animated feature-length film produced by Lux Fugit Film (Anderlecht) and co-produced with France (Les films du Tabour de Soie, Foliascope, Vivement Lundi!), Italy (Graffiti Film) and Switzerland (Nadasdy). The project is being directed by Alain Ughetto (France) and tells the story of the director's family who emigrated across the Alps from Italy to France in search of their land of milk and honey. This animated project will count on the talents of a dozen Brussels-based technicians and on the experience of service providers such as Alea Jacta (Saint-Gilles) for editing, Dame Blanche (Etterbeek) for sound editing, Studio l’Équipe for sound effects, Imynda (Saint-Gilles) and Sondr (Schaerbeek) for post-production. Audiences will recognise the voices of a number of Brussels-based actors, such as Salomé Richard (Baden Baden, Rêves de jeunesse, La part sauvage) alongside Ariane Ascaride and Gérard Meylan.

Night of the Zoombies

Animated feature-length film produced by Umedia (Ixelles) and co-produced with Copperheart Entertainment (Canada) and Charades Productions (France). The project is being directed by Canadians Ricardo Curtis and Rodrigo Perez-Castro, who have worked on a number of animated films with major North American studios. After a zombie epidemic comes to Colepepper Zoo, Gracie, a young grey wolf, has to convince a small group of misfit animals to put their mutual distrust aside and save their zoo from the Zoombie invasion! This international project will include more than 300 days of production at the Brussels studies of Mac Guff Belgium (Ixelles). Twenty-six technicians from the region will be working for several months, once again making Brussels Animation Valley the gold standard for high-tech animation, helping to attract and retain animation talent in the capital.

Three documentaries

En morgen heel de wereld - And Tomorrow, The Entire World

Documentary produced by Diplodokus (Louvain), co-produced with Rayuela Productions (Schaerbeek). Directed by Louisiana Mees (Brussels) and co-written with Wederik De Backer (Brussels). This project paints the portrait of four young refugees on the brink of adulthood. They live together in the Juneco residential home in Malines and are supported by their caseworkers. Once they reach 18, they’ll have to leave the home and learn to live on their own. This documentary will be using the services of seven Brussels-based crew members, including the director and sound engineer, while a large part of audio post-production will be done in Brussels by Studio l’Équipe (Evere).

Lou, en plein cœur

Documentary produced by Rayuela Productions (Schaerbeek), written and directed by François Gonce (Brussels), who has worked as a freelance director for RTBF, notably on The Voice Belgique (Season 9) where he met Lou Boland, the subject of this documentary. This 23-year-old musician is blind and suffers from a rare brain disease which has taken a lot from him, but has also given him the gift of perfect pitch, as well as his own special way of seeing the world. His greatest challenge is to make it as a music artist in his own right. This documentary will be shot in Brussels for 10 out of 13 total days, and all post-production work will be done there as well, totalling 78 days. The project is almost exclusively Brussels-focused, including its subject who hails from Watermael-Boitsfort, and the director, the crew, the production team and service providers: Chocolat Noisette (Bruxelles-Ville) for audio post-production and Sondr (Schaerbeek) for visual post-production.

XX – Naar een gelijkwaardige toekomst

Documentary produced by Cassette for Timescapes (Ghent), directed by Zaïde Bil, Sam Peeters, Heleen Declercq (Brussels) and Ischa Clissen (Schilde), and co-written by this foursome along with Lieven Corthouts, Tim De Keersmaecker (both from Brussels) and Emmy Oost (Ghent). XX - Towards an Egalitarian Future (in English) is a documentary series that looks at eight women and what they believe to be important for creating a society with greater gender equality. This series will focus on eight "game-changers" who each embody diversity at their own level. In all, 40 out of 65 of the total shooting days will take place in Brussels, as will the entire post-production (235 days). A team of 10 Brussels-based crew members, including the department heads, will be involved, as will experienced service providers such as The Fridge (Koekelberg) for visual post-production, Studio l’Équipe (Evere) for subtitling and Bruks Media (Evere) for audio post-production and audio description. This documentary will be produced with a horizontal organisational structure, with equal gender representation in the crew, and the principles of co-creation and encouraging diversity will be reflected both in production and in the subject matter.

Two digital series

La théorie du Y (Season 3)

Webseries produced by Narrativ Nation (Anderlecht), directed and written by Caroline Taillet and Martin Landmeters (Brussels). Gaspar and Joséphine have been together for years. They live in Brussels. Nearing 30, they’re inseparable and trust each other completely. One day, after a chain of circumstances, Gaspar follows his intuition and kisses the guy next door. La théorie du Y plunges us into Brussels’ LGBT community as we follow Gaspar and Joséphine along with Mika, Claire and Romy as they explore their sexual orientations. All of the filming (18 days) for the third season of this very Brussels series will take place in the city, and the entire cast and crew of 57 come from Brussels. Local service providers will also be involved: Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek) for camera and lighting equipment rental, KGS (Schaerbeek) for grip equipment, Audiosense (Evere) for sound equipment and Demute (Koekelberg) for audio post-production.

Le trou

Digital series produced by Big Trouble in Little Belgium (Mons), written and directed by Benjamin Viré and Manon Henry (Brussels) with screenwriting help from Etienne Bloc (Brussels). The members of a writers’ room for a new TV project for RTBF discover a mysterious hole hidden in a prop room. A bottomless well? A portal to another dimension? The Hole quickly becomes a springboard for the fears and hopes of these narcissistic writers, who suddenly discover and learn the strength of a bond based around a shared secret. This comedy webseries set in the world of stand-up comics will be filmed entirely in Brussels over 18 days. The talents of 10 Brussels-based technicians and actors, including the directors and department heads, will be involved. Post-production will also be done entirely in Brussels over a total of 56 days, with contributions from Citizen Ciné Services (Forest), Eye-Lite (Schaerbeek), KGS (Schaerbeek), Lites (Saint-Gilles), Audiomania (Schaerbeek) for the rental of location equipment, lighting, grip equipment, cameras and sound equipment respectively, and Chocolat Noisette for audio post-production.

Many women at the helm

Out of the 30 directors in these projects, 14 are women (46%): Louisiana Mees (En morgen heel de wereld), Mary Jimenez and Bénédicte Liénard (Fuga), Karin Fahlen (Hostage), Caroline Taillet (La théorie du Y), Maryam Touzani (Le bleu du caftan), Delphine Girard (Le plus vivant possible), Manon Henry (Le trou), Marie-Hélène Roux (Panzi), Yasmine Benkiran (Reines), Kato de Boeck and Flo Van Deuren (Roomies), and Zaïde Bil and Heleen Declercq (XX).

The majority of the projects are Belgian and Brussels-based

Seventeen of the directors come from Brussels (56%). Twelve of the projects are receiving the majority of their funding from Belgium, and twelve are being produced by companies based in Brussels - including four in Wallonia and four in Flanders.

Two feature films are co-productions with Morocco

Two of the eight feature-length films supported will be co-produced with Morocco: Le bleu du caftan with Ali N’Production and Reines with Montfleuri Productions, both based in Casablanca.

Exceptional support and a return on investment for the Brussels audiovisual industry

Thanks to additional, one-time support from the government of the Brussels-Capital Region for an industry gravely affected by the pandemic, screen.brussels has been able to invest over €1.75 million. This amount will help put Brussels-based talent to work and generate business for local companies specialising in the film industry, leading to a return on investment for the regional economy of nearly €14 million – almost €8 for each euro invested.

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