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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Belgium

The first clapperboard has slammed on La Salle des pas perdus

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- Last week, in Antwerp, Roda Fawaz and Thibaut Wohlfahrt kicked off filming on their first feature, produced by Liege-based firm Frakas

The first clapperboard has slammed on La Salle des pas perdus
Directors Roda Fawaz (left) and Thibaut Wohlfahrt

Monday 4 July saw filming commence in Antwerp on La Salle des pas perdus, a debut feature film co-directed by Thibaut Wohlfahrt and Roda Fawaz. A filmmaker who trained at IAD, the former previously turned heads via his two short films, Ciao Bambino and La Traversée, but also via a third short, Bruxelles-Beyrouth, which he co-directed with Samir Youssef. It was while making this movie that he met the Belgian author and actor of Lebanese descent, Roda Fawaz, who was playing the film’s lead role. Another graduate of IAD and the author of several one-man shows, Roda Fawaz is notably known to mainstream audiences for his part in the Belgian series Unit 42 and Invisible, and he’ll soon be hitting screens once again in 1985, a Belgian event series co-produced by the country’s two public broadcasters, RTBF and VRT. Fawaz is also acting in the present film.

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In La Salle des pas perdus, Thibaut Wohlfahrt and Roda Fawaz set up their cameras in a location which is emblematic of civic life and society: the local court. The film follows seven stories, seven people in search of identity, seven destinies which overlap in a court of law over the course of one day. It’s a tale set apart by its unity of time and place, and one major artistic constraint: the need to link 20 sequence shots together which will then bring the story to life.

The directors’ approach is the result of a rather particular productive context, given that the movie is one of a number of projects to have won support from the “lightweight productions” programme launched by the Film Centre several years ago, in the form of a limited financial subsidy characterised by certain time constraints but also great artistic freedom, since projects are selected on the basis of their film treatments without being subjected to broadcasting requirements. The most memorable projects to have been released so far under this umbrella include Madly in Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Raphaël Balboni & Ann Sirot
film profile
]
by Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni, which scooped 7 trophies during the most recent Magritte Film Awards, including one for Best Film, Mother Schmuckers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Harpo and Lenny Guit
film profile
]
by Lenny and Harpo Guit, which was selected for Sundance, and Aya [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Simon Coulibaly Gillard
film profile
]
by Simon Gillard Coulibaly, which was presented in Cannes’ ACID line-up.

Another feature setting these projects apart is that they often showcase essentially Belgian casts, mainly because they’re not dependent on market constraints, unlike international co-productions which “would be obliged” to include greater numbers of French actors, for example. Brilliant Belgian actor Laurent Capelluto is notably gracing La Salle des pas perdus - recently seen in Nicolas Maury’s My Best Part [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Maury
interview: Nicolas Maury
film profile
]
, and Laura Wandel’s Playground [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laura Wandel
film profile
]
, and soon to be toplining Pierre Salvadori’s new movie The Little Gang [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pierre Salvadori
film profile
]
- alongside Véronique Dumont, a Belgian actress often seen treading the boards and who’s also acted under Nadir Moknèche, Pascal Rabaté and Philippe Blasband; Aurélien Caeyman, the acting revelation from season 2 of The Break; and Wim Willaert, a Flemish actor who’s a regular face in French-language films (he played the wonderful loser in Jan Bucquoy’s The Last Temptation of the Belgians [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan Bucquoy
film profile
]
back in January).

La Salle des pas perdus is produced by Cassandre Warnauts and Jean-Yves Roubin on behalf of Frakas Productions, who have just released three feature films in quick succession: The Hive [+see also:
film review
interview: Christophe Hermans
film profile
]
by Christophe Hermans, Sans soleil [+see also:
film review
interview: Banu Akseki
film profile
]
by Banu Akseki, and On the Edge [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Giordano Gederlini
film profile
]
by Giordano Gederlini. As well as support from the Wallonia Brussels Federation Film and Audiovisual Centre, the movie also enjoys backing from RTBF, Proximus, VOO, BeTV and Shelter Prod (with the support of Tax shelter.be and ING).

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(Translated from French)

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