I had my first experience as a 1AD on American ground, from mid-October to the end of December 2021. We shot the feature film “The Wall”, written and directed by Philippe Van Leeuw (“Insyriated“), in and around Tucson, Arizona. With incredible Vicky Krieps as the main character and an amazing US-EU film crew. Production habits are slightly different between the two continents but we made it work 😉
Ten weeks of hard working but also two months of desert sunshine, beautiful sunsets, cactuses and a lot of dust !
What happened the last years?
I’ve worked mainly as a first assistant director these last three years. On short and long features. From Sweden, over Danemark, to Germany, back in Belgium and then to Portugal. Even throughout the Covid Pandemic, I’ve managed to work. I guess all those films will be coming out soon, when the theaters open again…
Beside this, I have been directing small video projects, but mainly I’ve been co-writing the script for my second feature film. A first draft was proposed a year ago to the VAF (Flemish Film Fund), but was refused because of several (very opposing) arguments by the reading commission. Some of the remarks were right though, so me and my writing partner have been working on a new treatment. And I hope we can convince a new (female) writing partner to join us to finalize a new script.
So, if you’re interested to join us for writing a very personal film with a dramatic love story, situated in Brussels, let me know 😉
As pictures tell sometimes more than words, here are some covid-19 set moments …
Indeed ! Yet another year and a half off the records 🙂
Last year 2017 I have mainly been working as a 1AD on an international TV series called The Team for its second season. The project is a co-production mainly between Germany, Belgium (Flanders) and Denmark. One can say I have been seeing a lot of airport corridors, from Copenhagen to Hamburg to Brussels to Vienna to Damascus in Jordan. The result is that my carbon footprint has not been of the best this last year… Being 1AD on this set was a hell of a job on a hell of a eternally changing production. It was exhausting but interesting, with a nice BE-DK tech crew and with DK director Kasper Gaardsøe and his demanding DoP Jan Pallesen. Even if you’re dead at the end of the shoot, you know that you’ve had a lot of new experiences with car chases, water fights, bloody killings, other stunts and most of all, working with actors from all countries. Another nice element is to see how our colleagues work in other EU countries, which shooting habits are different and which ones are the same. Very interesting and not always easy to handle !
Here are some pix, from Jutland in Denmark to the desert in Jordan !
Now I’m back doing my own stuff since some months. I have been on little production jobs but mainly I have been working on two scripts (with my co-authors) for which I hope to find some funding very soon. Will keep you posted about that !
Again. I see I haven’t been at all active on my blog since more then a year. Well, that is mostly because I haven’t been in need to communicate about my personal activities.
In fact, I have been working as a first Assistant Director on several projects. Two of them were feature films of interesting Flemish or Kurdish directors. For Christophe Van Rompaey’s new feature film we have been shooting in Belgium and France for 8 weeks.
With Bülent Ozturk I have been filming in Belgium and Istanbul, Turkey. Both were intense moments.
I’m lucky that I can earn money (me too I need some 🙂 while working in the film business on valuable artistic projects. Cheers !
July and August are the best months in Brussels. Half of the people are on holiday and there are much lesser cars, so the air is pleasantly breathable. With a little luck it doesn’t rain too much neither.
These last months I have been working a lot on the script for my second feature film. I’m writing it with my old friend and documentary maker Manno. As he’s now off to Burundi for three months, to prepare his next documentary, I can grab back work I’ve set aside for too long. For example, I worked on a small “inside” video of my latest installation DM2. As this blog is very inside 🙂 you can see it here :
Welcome Home has finally been released in my hometown Brussels. My film came home, at last ! 1,5 years after the world premiere at the Venice film festival, this really feels good. I had some fine (live and recorded) television interviews, in Dutch and French, that were fun. Check them out with some other articles I posted on the Facebook page of the film, if you can read or understand those Belgian languages 😉
Hoho, it’s been 8 months since I’ve posted news on my blog. Even if I’m not a big fan of Facebook, I seem to leave more sign of life there then on this personal blog.
This last half year I have been busy i.a. with creating a new website that, I hope, will be visible and online the coming months. It’s made by Lionel Maes of the young gang of la Villa Hermosa. Only, it takes time to finish this new web beast as I’m also busy with trying to distribute my installation DM2, helping my friend Laurent of Polymorfilms with his short fiction film and being a good father while my partner Béatrice, the mother of our son, has a lot of performances to prepare in Belgium and abroad. Most important though is the fact that I’ve started writing my second feature in collaboration with director and old friend Manno Lanssens. Even more important, my first feature Welcome Home will be finally (!) distributed in Brussels, my hometown and a main character in the film. Some months ago, I presented myself the movie to Claude Diouri of distribution company CNC (the website sucks but the films they distribute are great) and he immediately confirmed “This is a movie for us”.
On the 26th of March the film will be shown in two venues, the Actors Studio in downtown Brussels and uptown at Flagey (Cinematek). Both art house cinema’s are part of my cinema eduction! So this is truly a fantastic release with specific attention of the French speaking press. Avant premiere on 19/03 in Flagey and on 25/03 in Actors Studio. We’ll see how the public reacts!
We’re in the second half of June and since 2 weeks summer has finally arrived in Belgium, following a springtime that felt too much like winter… Now the warm days have arrived it is an ideal moment to close ourselves inside a dark and big theater space to give DM2 (aka DarkMatr 2) it’s final touch.
Thursday evening Jack and Nico have arrived from Paris for a last 3-day long weekend residency to correct the bugs in the DM2 program. We’ll also have time to add extra features based on remarks given by some visitors during the public presentation we did at Nadine two months ago. During that presentation we had the visit of some art curators and one of them was Hans Bocxstael of the arts center Netwerk in Aalst (B). He accepted to host our last residency, so that’s how the three of us have now landed in this great space along the canal in this tiny flemish town of Flanders.
Take a look at this temporary web page of DM2.
A month has passed. I’m definitely not a good blogger…
After a fun ride with a hired car and a new Chinese friend, over the hills of California, to Santa Cruz boardwalk and sunny beach, then up north over Highway 1 to San Francisco and leaving California the next day, I arrived in Paris on the 12th of March.
In the middle of a massive SNOW BLIZZARD. Yes! Paris, the North of France and Belgium was caught in a 24h chaotic late spring deep winter peak, obstructing life completely. And me too. Had to pass those 24h in and around the airport, eating in the airport, sleeping around airport.
Home the next day. With that 10h flight + the jet lag + the snow blizzard apocalypse, I had slept 4h in 40h… You can tell my first week back in Belgium was a complete mess
Three weeks ago I finally started the almost last creation week of my installation DarkMatr2 aka DM2. My fine colleagues Jack and Nicolas joined me in the magnificent workspace Nadine where we worked an intensive 14 days to finally come to a close-to-end result.
We showed DM2 the first time to the public in the weekend of Saturday and Sunday the 30th and 31th of March. The reactions were super positif ! This week DM2 it is still installed at Nadine for private viewing. So if you want to see it, give me a call 😉
I’ll edit some more visuals very soon to keep you posted !-)
Arrived in San Francisco on the 26th of February at noon. Walked around town all day, with my friend and director Thom Vander Beken, who lives partly here and partly in Belgium. Tried to get a normal sleep after being awake 36 hours (11h flight from Paris). Serious jet lag 🙂 Next day, took the Caltrain to San Jose to present the US premiere of Welcome Home on Cinequest. YES !!
I had three projections in Cinequest on the 27th, 28th and 1st of March. The last presentation was full! Since then I’m really enjoying my stay here in San Jose. Discovering California, watching several films per day and meeting my European , Asian, American and Latin American independent colleague filmmakers. Some of them are very critical to my film but others have become huge fans of it, like the great actor Seth Chatfield, who plays a character in Only Daughter.
I have to admit. I haven’t seen much films that completely convinced me. There are a lot of good ideas but most of the films have the same look… There are 2 films that I found amazing though : Girl Shaped Love Drug and Oh boy. Both films are in black and white… Is this a reaction on the digital era ?
I’m here until next Monday when I’ll take my plane back home. In the meantime I watch films, meet nice people, have Californian wine in fancy venues and ride my bike through the San Jose streets… Saterday is the closing event. I have a 1% chance of wining a price. :-)))