Brussels adds professional program

Jaco Van Dormael to deliver masterclass

BRUSSELS — The new-look Brussels European Film Festival has added a professional program, drawing together local pro associations, the European Union institutions and international collaborators.

Events include a masterclass on writing low-budget films, led by Elliot Grove of London’s Raindance Film Festival, and a script pitching competition.

A tax shelter market will hook up production projects with potential investors under the Belgian system of tax breaks. Any European production with a local co-producer is eligible.

There will also be a European Day, linking to Belgium’s presidency of the European Union, which begins in July, and a masterclass with helmer Jaco Van Dormael.

New fest director Ivan Corbisier has ambitions to expand this pro side in future years. “It’s important for the festival to be a real festival, with meetings and workshops and masterclasses,” he said, launching the program Thursday. “This is just a beginning.”

Fest unspools June 23-30, opening with Mathieu Amalric’s “Tournee,” winner of the best director award at Cannes. It closes with Laurent Perreau’s “Le Bel age,” starring Michel Piccoli.

Corbisier has dropped the fest’s rule of screening only first and second films by European directors, opening out to better-known faces.

Jury will now give two prizes, the Golden Iris for best film, worth E10,000 ($12,100), and the Silver Iris for best first film, worth $6,500. In a competition of 11 features, five are debuts.

Other program innovations include a section on European genre films and a short film competition.

Fest has also inked a sponsorship deal with the Sundance Channel, which opens it up to American films for the first time. Spot dubbed “Hello Sundance” comprises “Breaking Upwards” by Daryl Wein and “Quiet Little Marriage” by Mo Perkins.

This is the Sundance Channel’s first local fest sponsorship since launching in Europe in July 2009. It broadcasts in Poland, France and Belgium.

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