Flanders Image, the promotional arm of the VAF film fund of Belgium’s Flemish-speaking community, has unveiled the 80 projects selected for its annual CONNEXT showcase, running as a hybrid event from October 10-24.
The showcase, which will hold a physical component in Antwerp from October 9-11, unfolds against the backdrop of a high-profile year for Belgian film and the cinema of its Flemish-speaking community in particular.
Lukas Dhont’s Close won Cannes Grand Prize and is now a frontrunner in the best international film category of the Oscars as Belgium’s submission; while Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch clinched Cannes Jury Prize for Italian-language drama The Eight Mountains (ex-acquo with Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO).
Rebel, the homecoming film of Bad Boys For Life directorial duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, has also been making waves internationally after debuting Out of Competition at Cannes.
These films were all showcased at previous editions of CONNEXT.
The year’s selection includes project pitches for Bavo Defurne’s Heartbreakers For Beginners, his first film in six years after award-winning titles Souvenir (2016), starring Isabelle Huppert, and breakout work North Sea Texas (2011). Defurne co-directs with long-time writing partner Yves Verbraeken.
Other films at the pitch stage include This Is Vigo, the directorial debut of actor Mathias Sercu, best known internationally for his role in the TV drama Marsman, and The Weeping Walk, which is also the first film for Dimitri Verhulst, who previously took writing credits on Michaël R. Roskam’s announced Sylvia Krystel bio-pic and Koen Mortier’s Angel (2018).
The Works In Progress (WIP) line-up features Fien Troch’s drama Holly, about a teenager who is lauded as a heroine in the wake of a school fire. Troch won best director in Venice Horizons for last feature Home. Ex-Drummer director Mortier will present his new film Skunk about a teenager attempting to heal after a difficult upbringing within a dysfunctional, alcoholic family.
Other films in the WIP selection include Soundtrack To A Coup d’Etat by documentarian Johan Grimponprez, best known internationally for arms trade exposé Shadow World.
His new work follows the story of The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister Patrice Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1961 at the age of just 35 years old in a plot involving both the U.S. and Belgian governments of the time.
Tim Mielants, who recently took co-director credits with Bouli Lanners on the English-language drama Nobody Has To Know, will present his new solo work Will, a World War Two drama, adapted from the bestselling novel by Jeroen Olyslaegers.
On the TV series side, Malin-Sarah Gozin, showrunner on series such as Tabula Rasa and Clan, which was remade as Bad Sisters for Apple TV+, will pitch Dead End, while International Emmy Award-winning writer and director Tim Van Aelst will unveil the second season of Hate To Love You.
Another highlight of the physical event in Antwerp, will be a keynote interview with The Broken Circle Breakdown actress Veerle Baetens, who is currently in post-production on her directorial debut When It Melts.