In spite of the horrifying headlines coming from Belgium lately, let's not forget there is some great Belgian cinema to report and admire.
After last fall's Belgian Trade Mission to Canada, the SPARK conference and festival devoted an entire session to Belgian (mostly Walloon) & French animation, and just a few weeks back, Lenny Van Wesemael's Flemish debut feature Café Derby nabbed four main awards at the Vancouver Int'l Women in Film Festival.
Now, the Reel 2 Real Film Festival for Youth opens with the Belgian (Walloon) feature film Birds of Passage on Friday, April 8. Directed by Olivier Ringer, Birds of Passage follows a 10-year-old who befriends a duckling and a girl who uses a wheelchair. The film won the Grand Prix de Montréal as Best Feature at FIFEM 2015.
"We chose Birds of Passage for opening night is because it is a high-quality film that will appeal to both children and adults," says Executive & Artistic Director Venay Felton. "It is about true friendship, the responsibility two girls have caring for a duckling, and their need for independence. It is a touching story, and the performances by the young actors are exceptional."
The festival showed On the Sly, another film by the Belgian brothers Olivier & Yves Ringer in 2013. Olivier Ringer will be availabe for a Skype Q&A after the screening.
(Still of Michi)
The festival also features a Made-in-BC shorts section on Sunday, April 10 including:
A Story of Luke Wallace by Ali Harris. The film follows singer and environmentalist Luke Wallace, who created the art project One Big Coast, which lead to a documentary/soundtrack exploring how the proposed Northern Gateway project would impact the West Coast of BC:
Five Second Rule, a short animation by Bo Hee Seong about a girl tempted to eat a cookie she dropped on the ground.
Imogen, a short animation by Maria Jose Castrillon about a girl drifting off in fantasy.
Michi, by ECAUD graduate Kaho Yoshida, which was also chosen by TIFF as one of Canada’s Top 10 Student Films of 2015.
Proud To Be Heiltsuk, a short interview with two different generations about the importance of the Heiltsuk culture. Directed by Elle Brown and Astrid Wilson.
Rebel (Bihttoš) by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. This wonderful short mix of animation and re-enactment about the filmmakers' parents was awarded one of three inaugural Matrix Awards at the Women in Film festival in March.
Not made in BC, but starring young local actress Aryana Engineer is Dreaming of Peggy Lee, by James Everett. Engineer is partially deaf. This hasn’t stopped her from starring in the feature films Orphan and Resident Evil: Retribution, as well as a commercial for the 2010 Olympic Games. This short plays in the Window to Another World program.
By proud Belgian-Canadian, Katja De Bock
Photos Courtesy of Reel 2 Real
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