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PRODUCTION Belgium

Vanja D’Alcantara’s Kazakh adventure

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Vanja D’Alcantara’s Kazakh adventure

Vanja d’Alcantara is currently braving the harsh Siberian elements as she shoots her film, Les Steppes (“The Steppes”). The cast and crew, who began work on April 7 near Warsaw, are on their way to Kazakhstan, where they will spend five weeks. The shoot is scheduled to wrap May 22 with one day’s filming in Belgium.

Les Steppes traces the journey of a young mother who is deported to a Siberian sovkhoz by the Soviet army in 1940. She travels some way with a group of Mongolian nomads, in search of medicine for her ailing child.

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This is an ambitious and challenging debut feature, boldly undertaken by the director, who attracted attention with her debut, self-produced documentary, La Tercera Vida (“The Third Life”). This was followed by her first short, Granitsa, a sort of trial run for her current film, since it was set on the Trans-Siberian railway.

Written by D’Alcantara, Les Steppes is lensed by Ruben Impens, who collaborated on Granitsa and recently won acclaim for Moscow, Belgium [+see also:
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. The cast is mainly made up of Polish actors, including TV star Borys Szyc.

The film – whose estimated budget is €1.8m – received backing from the Film Centre of the French Community of Belgium, the VAF, MEDIA and the Polish Film Institute, after taking part in Cinemart in 2007.

Produced by Need Productions, Les Steppes is co-produced by Poland’s Akson and Flanders’ Lunanime (the production arm of distributor Lumière).

Need Productions appears to have a strong link with women directors, for its catalogue also includes Ursula Meïer, Delphine Gleize, Olga Baillif, Inès Rabadan, as well as Amandine Kech and Catherine Montondo, whose projects are in development. The company is also co-producing Christophe Blanc’s Blanc Comme Neige (“White as Snow”), which is currently shooting and stars François Cluzet, Bouli Lanners, Olivier Gourmet, Jonathan Zaccaï and Louise Bourgoin.

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(Translated from French)

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