Belgium picks ‘Ben X’ as Oscar entry

Film was a hit at Montreal festival

BRUSSELS — “Ben X,” the debut feature by helmer Nic Balthazar, has been selected as Belgium’s entry for the foreign language Oscar.

This follows its success at the Montreal Film Festival, where it captured the top jury and public prizes.

The Flemish-language drama was unanimously selected by a jury of Belgian film professionals, drawn from across the country’s Flemish and French speaking communities.

Pic tells the story of mildly autistic teen Ben, played by Greg Timmermans, whose withdrawn personality at school contrasts sharply with his warrior persona in on-line fantasy videogames. Increasing pressure from two school bullies leads to a blurring of his two worlds.

Balthazar is best known in Belgium as a film critic and presenter of cultural programs on Flemish TV. Before the movie, he told the story of “Ben X” in a novel and a stage play.

Produced by MMG in Belgium, in collaboration with Belgian public TV station Een and BosBros in the Netherlands, “Ben X” has found several foreign distributors since its Montreal success. It opens in Belgium on Sept. 26.

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