by Aurore Engelen
08/05/2009 - Frédéric Delcor was appointed Secretary General of the French Community of Belgium last September, replacing Henry Ingberg. As with his predecessor, this position comes with the role of Director of the Film and Audiovisual Centre, a title he insisted on keeping.
Cineuropa: You’ve headed the French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre (CCA) for the past six months: what is your assessment of the situation?
Frédéric Delcor: I’ve noticed that Belgian Francophone films enjoy outstanding international recognition. The CCA contributes financially to this burgeoning success. Moreover, among the numerous funding sources (Wallimage, Tax Shelter, etc.), it is the highest contributor to majority Belgian Francophone features. Taking into account the economic and sociological realities of our territory (let’s not forget that we’re talking about a community of four million people), we can say that today we produce a satisfactory number of majority features every year. The production support system has reached a certain maturity.
Besides the economic aspect, we also have an artistic responsibility, and that’s why we strive to support and strengthen the diversity of production. Diversity in terms of both genre and format. By backing shorts, documentaries and even experimental films, we’re supporting the equivalent of applied research. One thing that has struck me over the last six months is the envy that our little country inspires in other European countries in similar situations. For example, we are almost “over-represented” at Eurimages! Belgians are not aware enough of the quality of their films.
The major challenge for Belgian Francophone cinema today is its circulation, outside, and above all within our borders. We must strive to offer audiences better qualitative and quantitative conditions for viewing their films. Belgians still have a rather stereotyped vision of their cinema. For a long time, and depending on the period, people believed that certain auteurs alone defined the whole corpus. At the time of Rosetta, Belgian cinema was defined as social, or surrealist in Van Dormael’s work, or irreverent and full of schoolboy humour in Man Bites Dog. But look at the films released this year: a poetic road movie (Eldorado [trailer]), a burlesque fantasy (Rumba [trailer, film focus]), a drama about immigration (Lorna’s Silence [trailer, film focus]). The films we proudly support are certainly auteur films, with strong points of view, but they’re not necessarily aimed at a limited audience.
This year’s Cannes selection is indicative of the French Community of Belgium’s role as a co-producer on a European, and international, level.
Indeed, we have a real tradition of co-productions, which stems above all from our situation. We’re a small community in a small country. Cinema is an art, but also an industry. In market terms, we naturally need to look beyond our borders. The CCA has always focused on co-productions. Everything is a question of reciprocity in the co-production field. We have several strong partners, including France and other Francophone countries (Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg), but we’re also seeking to build relationships with other territories. Discussions are underway for example with the UK, the Netherlands and even China.
Moreover, in 2009, a strong political gesture has been made: we’ve instigated a common budgetary policy for co-productions with the Vlaams Audiovisual Fund. The three films selected at this year’s Cannes Festival are indicative of this commitment.