Apart from the traditional open-air screenings, the festival will also celebrate Belgian films by showing the debut works of prominent filmmakers (Bouli Lanners’ Ultranova and Joachim Lafosse’s Private Property), and the Flemish box office sensation Ben X, by Nic Balthazar.
For the past two years, the event has joined forces with Cinédécouvertes, an initiative of the Belgian Royal Cinémathèque, which aims to give audiences the chance to discover cinematic gems unveiled at international festivals. Eleven European co-productions will vie for the Golden Age Award, and the two Cinédécouvertes Prizes, which will enable the winning films to be distributed in Belgium.
The festival’s main attraction is of course the competition: 14 films from all four corners of Europe will delight cinemagoers.
There will be a strong German presence, with four co-productions on the line-up. These include Nicolette Krebitz’s The Heart is a Dark Forest (produced by director Tom Twyker and his company X Filme Creative Pool); and The Stranger in Me by Franco-Iranian director Emily Atef, which was recently selected in the Cannes Critics’ Week. Also on the programme is the remarkable Heart of Fire by Italian director Luigi Falorni, which looks at the use of child soldiers during the Eritrean War of Independence, a fact that is still disputed by the Eritrean government.
Finally, Teona Mitevska’s I’m From Titov Veles (Jury Prize at the Lecce Film Festival, Best Director Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival) will be the only film to represent Belgium in the competition. This Macedonian title – produced by Sisters & Brother Mitevski – was co-produced by France, Slovenia and the Brussels-based Entre Chien et Loup.