The Fifth Estate: or when Dreamworks sets foot in Belgium
- Spielberg's next production, The Fifth Estate, on the career of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, will be mostly filmed in Belgium
Last week, an incredible surge of name-dropping took hold of Belgium's audio-visual sector. Judge for yourself: Steven Spielberg, Twilight, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Sherlock Holmes. We hadn't seen so many stars all crowded onto the credits of a Belgian movie for at least… two months. On that occasion, everyone was talking about Grace of Monaco, Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth (and a little bit about Olivier Dahan). The cause of this wave of stardust in Belgium is the famous Tax Shelter, embodying everyone's desires, more or less legitimate, but also new fears, notably expressed at the end of 2012 in a column in the newspaper Le Soir by Philippe Reynaert (Director of Wallimage) and Patrick Quinet (President of the Union of French-Language Film Producers), particularly worried by the fact that some intermediaries are promising returns well above the threshold laid down by law. While all producers are not necessarily on the same wavelength (Be-Films, Nexus, Saga Films and Kaos resigned from the Union last autumn on this same topic), some professionals fear that the funds levied will not be directly re-invested in real production expenses, whereas the system should serve to structure the Belgian sector.
If Dreamworks turns up in Belgium this winter, it is thus mainly due to the Tax Shelter system. The film in question is The Fifth Estate, directed by Bill Condon (Twilight, Dr Kinsey), a biopic of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who has, in fact, just acccused the project of being an open declaration of war on Iran. The high-flying European cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch (photo), with Daniel Brühl (photo), David Thewlis or Carice Van Outen. Filming, which just got started in Iceland, will run for no less than 38 days in Belgium. The Belgian production will again include FBO, a new company headed by Hilde de Laere, known for her work with Woestijnvis (Loft [+see also:
film profile]). It's worth noting that the project should also be able to benefit from the new Flemish fund, Screen Flanders.
(Translated from French)
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