International offensive for Flemish cinema
- The Flemish Minister of Culture announced in Berlin the launch of the Flanders Distribution Grant, a support system for the distribution of Flemish films abroad
Since the end of the 80s, the Flemish cinema industry has chalked up excellent results in the national box office. Produced firstly by popular comedies such as Stijn Coninckx’s films (Hector, Koko Flanel), then by thrillers such as The Alzheimer Case [+see also:
film profile] or Loft [+see also:
film profile], this success was recently extended to new generations of writers, such as Felix Van Groeningen and Michael Roskam (photo), who managed to move an ever wider public, in Belgium but also abroad. For a few years now, the Cannes Film Festival, which often reveals new trends, has put forward Flemish cinema in its various selections (particularly memorable, Moscow, Belgium [+see also:
film profile] by Christophe Van Rompaey, which kicked off the trend in 2008, followed by The Unfortunates [+see also:
interview: Felix van Groeningen
film profile] and Gus Van den Berghe’s films (Little Baby Jesus of Flandr, Blue Bird [+see also:
film profile]). The selection last year of Bullhead [+see also:
interview: Bart Van Langendonck
interview: Michaël R. Roskam
film profile] for the Oscars, its great career in festivals, and that of Hasta la vista [+see also:
interview: Geoffrey Enthoven
film profile] for example, have undeniably contributed to this new wave of interest in Flemish cinema, giving producers and directors ambitions to reach the American market (and the rest of the world).
Even if the films’ teams were until now supported financially to participate in the various festivals for which they were selected, this was not always enough to help their international sales, and thus distribution abroad. The Flanders Distribution Grant will take the guise of a selective subsidy for foreign distributors who, thanks to this grant, will provide substantial releases on foreign screens for Flemish productions. It will not, therefore, be an automatic subsidy for technical releases, but in fact a fund aiming to finance vast promotion campaigns, dubbing, press junkets and any other devices enabling the significant increase of the visibility of Flemish films on otherwise highly competitive markets. The fund, managed by Flanders Images, will have a budget of 389,000 € in 2013, its first pilot year. A jury will select the most appropriate projects.
(Translated from French)
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