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Country Focus: Belgium

The VAF’s assessment of 2014 says attendance levels are on the rise for Flemish films

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The VAF’s assessment of 2014 says attendance levels are on the rise for Flemish films

- In 2014, the VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund) gave out almost €12.5 million in the context of its Film Fund, including 20 instances of production aid for fiction features. Now added to this support in Flanders is the backing provided by the new regional investment fund Screen Flanders (to the tune of €5 million), which was of benefit to 24 projects in 2014, including minority co-productions. The VAF also contributed to the production of TV series to a great extent, via its Media Fund, which was endowed with a budget of €6.5 million. Out of the ten series that received production aid, five were fiction series. Nestling among them could perhaps be the successors to Cordon and Salamander, which were sold abroad.

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In terms of the box office, Flemish productions and co-productions drew in 50,000 viewers more than they did in 2013. While there is no clear box-office champion (the best score was racked up by K3 dierenhotel, with 264,157 viewers), 2014 was able to benefit from the admissions taken by films that were released in 2013, and which had their runs stretched out over two calendar years, such as FC de Kampioenen [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which came out in 2013 and enticed over 720,000 viewers. 

On the international stage, Flemish films have won 190 awards and mentions, and for the second time in three years, Belgium was represented in the star-studded final quintet of hopefuls for the Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film, with The Broken Circle Breakdown [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Felix van Groeningen
interview: Felix Van Groeningen
interview: Felix Van Groeningen
festival scope
film profile
]
by Felix Van Groeningen. And while that title did not take home the Oscar, it nevertheless snagged the César Award for Best Foreign Film several days before – a first for a Flemish film.

Lastly, on the global level, it is worth noting that more and more Flemish talents are exporting just as well behind the camera as they are in front of it. Michaël R Roskam brought out his first US movie, The Drop, Erik Van Looy did the same with The Loft, and directors Jakob Verbruggen and Tim Mielants collaborated on foreign fiction series. In terms of actors, in addition to Matthias Schoenaerts, who will once again be present at Cannes with Alice Winocour’s Maryland [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Alice Winocour
film profile
]
, Veerle Baetens, Wim Willaert, Sam Louwyck, Titus De Voogdt, Koen De Graeve and Filip Peeters all work abroad on a regular basis.

 

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