Steve Thielemans

a documentary film by Steve Thielemans

(from the series HOGE BOMEN II) in coproduction with Canvas, Riche, Riche & Riche with support from Flanders Audiovisual Fund

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Steve Thielemans (from the series HOGE BOMEN II) in coproduction with Canvas, Riche, Riche & Riche with support form Flanders Audiovisual Fund.

After many scandals that shook the Belgian political and judiciary system in the nineties, Glenn Audenaert became the new chief of the federal police. A portrait of this eccentric policeman and his colossal responsibilities.




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4 Elements

Jiska Rickels

a documentary film by Jiska Rickels.

a Fu Works production in co-production with NPS, Dutch Film Fund, YLE, Off World and Canvas. Opening film IDFA December 2006.

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Jiska Rickels.
a Fu Works production in co-production with NPS, Dutch Film Fund, YLE, Off World and Canvas. Opening film IDFA December 2006.

Since the beginning of time the human race tried to explain the primal elements of their world: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. In these elements, one saw the kingdom of the gods. To keep the gods satisfied, the elements were handled with care. During the development of mankind they were deciphered, lost their mystic and transformed into pure matter. As an effect, people lost their respect for their power.

The force of the elements were used, however, they were never totally dominated, controlled or predicted. This means that we are nowadays still fighting the sometimes dangerous battle to control earth, water, fire, and air.
It is fascinating to see that those who are fighting this battle show a greater respect to the elements. In them we can see a sparkle of the primitive urge which is mostly lost by humanity.





CV Jiska Rickels & Filmography

Prior to obtaining a director’s degree for documentaries at the Dutch Film & Television Academy in Amsterdam, Jiska Rickels (1977) was a regular sound-performer for different musical theatre productions. PLAZA FUTURA, MAGMA SANG, HYMNEN AN DIE NACHT and  DE BAZUINEN VAN JERICHO are just a few examples of her prolonged activity in the world of new music. These and other productions were performed at various Audio Art Festivals across Europe.
Three years into her director’s study, she moved from Holland to Germany where she spent two years at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film in Munich. There, under the wings of Prof. Dr. Schreyer and in cooperation with Sanne Kurz, she realized the documentary HIMMELFILM.
Furthermore, Jiska Rickels was involved in THE STORY OF THE WEEPING KAMEL; another documentary which was nominated for an Oscar. 2003 saw her graduating at the Film Academy with the documentary UNTERTAGE.
Since 2004, she’s been working on a series of four documentaries, entitled VIERLUIK, of which the episodes ‘WATER’ (October 2004) and ‘FIRE’ (Summer 2005) have already been finished.

2004   Electriek     NPS Kort! Fiction short movie / 35mm / 9 min.

An 85-year-old inhabitant of the Belgian Ardennes has managed all her life without electricity. When the power-company finally comes round to connecting her remote house to the main rig, she informs the workers of her impotence to use the electricity since she doesn’t have any electrical appliances. A great opportunity for her neighbours to indulge in a bit of electrical gift-shopping.

2004   HIMMELFILM     Film academy Muenchen / documentary / S35mm / 20 min.
What did heaven look like when we were young? In trying to answer this question, people mostly look out of their window, searching dreamily for a piece of sky that’s tucked away between skyscrapers. For this documentary, tones and voices were recorded all over the world, ranging from childhood-memories to thoughts of heaven and home. Everybody has it’s own childhood-heaven. Own memories, forgotten corners, blank spots of childhood that fade away like colours in old photographs. Is heaven everywhere the same? Is it always present?

2003   UNTERTAGE     Graduation project / documentary / 16mm / 25 min.   

This impressionist documentary accompanies two miners down one of Germany’s last coal mines during one day.

2002   GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG    Experimental film/ 16mm / 17 min.
GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG is an experimental movie about a person who travels a futuristic, industrial landscape where the gods have been substituted by enormous machines. A short movie about the quest for man’s origins.

Awards / Festivals

grand judy award Trento Film Festival, 2008, Italie

Official opening film International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, 2006, Pays-Bas

Best Photography award Chicago International Film Festival, 2007, Etats-Unies

DDG Award Nederland (Dutch Directors Guild)

Christal Film Nederlands Film Festival, 2007, Pays-Bas

Grand Price Trento Film Festival, 2007, Italie

Mention spécial International Environmental Film Festival Ecocinema, 2008,  la Grecque

selection officielle Femina Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 2007, le Brazil
selection officielle Film Festival Athene, 2007, la Grecque
selection officielle Mar Del Plata Film Fest, 2007, Brazil
selection officielle Seattle International Film Festival, 2007, US
selection officielle Festival International de Ciné en Guadalajara, 2007, Mexique
selection officielle Trento Film Festival (Grand Price), 2007, Italie
selection officielle International Festival of New Film Split, 2007, Coratie
selection officielle Architectuur Film Festival Rotterdam, 2007, Pays-Bas
selection officielle Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2007, République Tchèque
selection officielle B-side Festival Genius Hot Doc’s, 2007, Canada
selection officielle Open Doek Festival Turnhout, 2007, Belgique
selection officielle Madcat Women’s International Film Festival, 2007, Californie, Etats-Unies
selection officielle International Environmental Film Festival Ecocinema, 2008
selection officielle Big Sky Documentary Festival, Missoula, 2008, Montana Etats-Unies
selection officielle Rodos International Films and Visual Arts Festival, Rodos, 2007, Greece
selection officielle Talinn Black Nights Film Festival, Talinn, 2007, Estonie
selection officielle Iran International Documentary Film Festival, Teheran,2007, Iran
selection officielle Film Festival of Bangkok, 2007, Thailande

Diffusé par NPS, VRT-CANVAS

Distributeur/vendeur:    A-Film

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Frank van den Engel & Masha Novikova

a documentary film by Frank van den Engel and Masha Novikova

in co-production with Zeppers Film & TV and IKON (NL), supported by Media-fund (NL) and Flanders audiovisual fund (BE). Released in january 2007

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Frank van den Engel and Masha Novikova in co-production with Zeppers Film & TV and IKON (NL), supported by Media-fund (NL) and Flanders audiovisual fund (BE). Released in january 2007

On the long journey of many months along the ancient Silk Road from Europe to China, the circus was the only entertainment along the way. In Uzbekistan, currently under dictatorship, the circus tradition is thriving, just as it was in the days of Genghis Khan, and the circus acts have changed little. Two circus artists must choose between continuing the old circus tradition and political involvement. Their choices have a serious effect on their lifelong friendship.






Circus Politics: Frank van den Engel & Masja Novikova's Between Heaven and Earth
Screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Tursan, a gentlemen with a white beard and gold teeth, smiles into the camera and says, "For my circus, I need peace." Peace has been hard to come by in Central Asia, especially since the crack-up of the Soviet Union, and Tursan says, "A circus should steer clear of politics." The circus is a major cultural tradition in this part of the world, but in the perilous 1990s it was not always possible for a circus to "steer clear of politics." Between Heaven and Earth (Tussen hemel en aarde), a lovely, lyrical documentary directed by Frank van den Engel and Masja Novikova, looks at two interconnected circus families in Uzbekistan, examining how they have been impacted by dictatorship (both Russian and Uzbek) and what it means for the circus.Achat and Tursan have been friends and circus performers since they were little boys. Their paths have diverged in recent years due to differing philosophies about politics. The dictatorship in Uzbekistan, which rose in the wake of Communism's downfall, has persecuted both of them for their political affiliations. Achat spent two years in prison, where he was tortured. "That is something we do not talk about," says Achat. Achat and Tursan were members of ERK, the democratic party, for which they were both arrested. Tursan, since the death of his son (Achat claims that Tursan's son was murdered, as retaliation for his father's political activities), has backed out of politics completely. He focuses on his family and on the circus. Achat, however, continues to organize, heading up a human rights organization, which provides legal aid to those in need. His family, his friends, plead with him to be cautious, to not make waves, to not call attention to himself. Tursan refuses. There is now a rift, a painful rift, between these two friends.
Between Heaven and Earth mixes interviews (featuring Achat, Tursan and others) with absolutely incredible footage of their circus performances, all set against the mountainous Uzbekistan landscape. The circuses, for the most part, take place in dusty public squares. This is not Cirque du Soleil, with big-budget production values and a soundtrack. This is circus at its most pure, its most raw. These people are amazing. We see a strong man pull a car with his teeth. We see gravity-defying tumbling acts. There are shots of the tightrope-walker from below, as she runs (yes, runs) across the tightrope with a 3 year old boy standing on her shoulders, the blazing blue sky arching above them in lieu of a circus tent.The tightrope walker is one of the most haunting characters in the film. She is a young woman, beautiful, and she says, in her interview, that all of her girlfriends are now focusing on getting married and having children. She thinks maybe she should start thinking about those things too. However, her work fills up all of the space in her mind. There's a loneliness to her, an isolation, but what else can she do? In the dusty public squares of Uzbek villages, people cluster together, escaping the roughness of their lives for an hour or so by staring silently up at the blue sky and watching a young woman running above them on a wire. She takes on an almost mythical aspect in these scenes. She is no longer a mere individual. She is her tradition. She is the circus of Central Asia. A floating figure, hovering above politics, above poverty, excellent at what she does, not giving in to despair, not accepting a second-hand life, her focus of laser-point intensity, she represents the best in us all.I was riveted by the film from beginning to end. It is a rare look at a world still haunted by the old paths of the Silk Road, by Tamurlane, by Genghis Khan, by Stalin. Politics come and go. Dictators rise and fall. But the circus is eternal. Between Heaven and Earth is not to be missed.


Frank van den Engel

Frank van den Engel (1956, Rotterdam). In 1997 he started an independent documentary production company Zeppers Film & TV as executive producer. In ten years time he produced over 50 films, for theatre and television. Some of these have been awarded at prestigious festivals around the world: Andre Hazes - she believes in me, Dans, Grozny Dans, Voices of Bam. Nowadays he combines production work with the development and realization of his own film projects, and with the coaching of first time directors. His debut Normaal - I always come back (82 mins) was theatrically released in 2002. His latest documentary Between Heaven and Earth (70 mins) was released in the cinema in 2007.

Masha Novikova

Masha Novikova was born in 1956 in Moscow, USSR. She studied pedagogy at the University of Moscow. And later worked as a teacher Russian language and literature. In Kazachstan she worked as a director-assistant in a German drama theater. Short before the fall of the Berlin Wall she came to the Netherlands, since then she has been living and working in Amsterdam. First Masha Novikova worked as interpretot and as a teacher Russian. She also worked as a guide in the 'Szar Peter House' in Zaandam. Later Masha started to work as an executive producer for Dutch television. At the same time she studied by Stefan Mayakowski at the 'Kunstweb' camera, script writing and filmdirection.

Since the year 2000 she also started to film herself, she worked with mini-dv as the second film photographer for several documentaries. In 2005 she directed her first film 'Fallen Engel', documentary about traffic in East -European women who were brought to the Netherland to work as prostitues.

Before making 'Three Comrades' Masha Novikova did some earlier work in Chechnya for documentary by Leo de Boer entitled 'Train to Grozny'. That was in April 2000, just after Grozny's total destruction. Driven by a feeling of shame about her own country, she has felt very much involved with the Chechnyan war ever since. In 2002 Masha Novikova did some shooting in Grozny for Jos de Putter's film 'Dance Grozny Dance'.

In addition, she did several film reports on Chechnya. She also worked in 2003 with Amnesty International on a film about Lidya Yusupova, who won the Martin Ennals prize in Geneve.

Awards / Festivals

Première Mondial à Rotterdam Film Festival, Pays-bas
Sélection officielle Tribeca International Film Festival, New York, USA
Sélection officielle Golden Apricot, l'Armenie
Sélection officielle Official selection Melbourne International Filmfestival, Australie
Sélection officielle Official selection Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival, USA
Sélection officielle Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada
Sélection officielle Sevilla Festival de Cine, Espagne
Sélection officielle 1001 Belgesel Film Festival, Turquie
Sélection officielle Official selection, Brazil
Sélection officielle Official selection Watch Docs Festival, Pologne
Sélection officielleOne World IFF, Tcechie
Sélection officielle FIAAP  International Film Festival of Performing Arts, Portugal
International Jury - Documentary Prize of the Oficial Selection  
University Jury - Documentary Prize

Sélection officielle Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Taiwan
Sélection officielle, Document 6 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

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Manu Bonmariage


in co-production with RTBF, supported by le centre du cinéma de la communauté française de la Belgique and Flanders Audiovisua Fund.

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Manu Bonmariage, in co-production with Iota Production and RTBF, supported by le centre du cinéma de la communauté française de la Belgique and Flanders Audiovisua Fund.

A farmer and his land. This is not your average love story. This tale is more down to earth than anything you can ever imagine. Is farming a true calling? How much love does it take for a farmer to fulfil his destiny successfully? Four stories portraying four families lead us through four seasons in search of the heart of agriculture.


flmed & directed by Manu Bonmariage

Edited by Tom Denoyette


Interview with Manu Bonmariage

Le Soir - 8 novembre 2012

Manu Bonmariage nous plonge dans la vie des fermiers

Le réalisateur a suivi le quotidien d'agriculteurs près de Stavelot. Les fermiers y évoquent leur vie, avec ses joies et ses difficultés.

« Je me situe davantage dans l’anthropologie, le côté humain… Je suis intéressé par le rapport immédiat avec les gens. Il y a beaucoup d’humour aussi », déclare le réalisateur Manu Bonmariage. © Iota Production.
Les Thonus, les Lambotte, les Neuville, les Foguenne… Ils respirent la terre, ces noms de famille. Des générations d’agriculteurs, du côté de l’Ardenne liégeoise. Dans la région de Stavelot, pour être précis. Rien n’y aurait changé, s’ils avaient été des producteurs de lait en terre luxembourgeoise, sur les plateaux et dans les vallées de l’Ardenne. La passion y est la même. Les caractères y sont aussi bien trempés. Durant un an, le réalisateur Manu Bonmariage a suivi ces familles. Son approche, caméra à l’épaule, débouche sur un film, intitulé La Terre amoureuse.

Du cinéma direct
Manu Bonmariage s’est plongé dans le quotidien de ces agriculteurs. Un film tourné à la manière de Strip-Tease : « Une forme de cinéma direct », précise-t-il. Cette terre ardennaise, il la connaît bien. « J’allais manger mes tartines avec les fermiers, quand j’étais petit. Même si j’ai fait le tour du monde avec ma caméra, je n’avais jamais regardé de plus près ce pays de mon enfance. Cette intrigue, à 71 ans, me trottait dans la tête. Avant vous aviez des fermes partout, dans les villages. Aujourd’hui, il en reste parfois trois ou quatre… Et puis, les fermes où l’homme, la femme et la famille travaillent encore ensemble sont de moins en moins nombreuses », constate-t-il.

La profession enchaîne les coups durs et les crises, dont celle du lait, qui a récemment marqué les esprits. « Dans le film, j’ai voulu un échantillon de ce qu’était la vie de familles différentes. Un agriculteur se lance, une autre a choisi la voie de la modernisation, un troisième continue à vivre selon un modèle plus familial… », poursuit le réalisateur. Manu Bonmariage n’analyse pas l’impact des crises et la mutation du monde agricole, même si, à travers des témoignages, la perte de maîtrise des fermiers sur leur production se ressent. « Je me situe davantage dans l’anthropologie, le côté humain… Je suis intéressé par le rapport immédiat avec les gens. Il y a beaucoup d’humour aussi. »

Il sort de cette expérience inquiet « pour l’idéal de ces agriculteurs. La plupart ont bien sûr envie de gagner de l’argent, mais ils n’ont pas envie de perdre ce plaisir d’être dans le vivant. La menace de l’industrialisation du lait fragilisera encore leur vie simple. Comment faire, par exemple, dans cette famille qui vient d’acheter une ferme ? Cela prend aux tripes ! ». Manu Bonmariage a trouvé le titre de son film, La Terre amoureuse, avant de l’avoir tourné. « C’est la première fois de ma vie que cela m’arrive. J’avais une tante qui me chantait que la terre est commune une femme. Quand elle est amoureuse, elle veut être ensemencée. Comment vivre alors cette passion, quand la femme ou la terre s’en va ? », s’interroge-t-il. Les Thonus, les Lambotte, les Neuville et les Foguenne apportent leurs réponses, mêlées d’incertitudes, de joies et de défis, au fil des saisons et des septante-deux minutes du film.

Les derniers sioux des Ardennes enchantées
Au moment où les agriculteurs vont batailler sur les marches du Parlement, où Jean-Jacques Andrien se penche avec beauté sur leur vie et les mutations/convulsions du monde moderne, Manu Bonmariage a empoigné lui aussi sa caméra pour aller filmer, dans les Ardennes, quelques familles amoureuses de leurs vaches, accrochées à leur territoire, écrasées par la violence de politiques communes qui leur sont imposées. En quelques visages, en plusieurs paysages, Bonmariage filme avec chaleur un monde très riche, très divers, qui lutte, se débat, se révolte ou fait son bonhomme de chemin, mais des familles qui résistent et avancent, « les derniers paysans des Ardennes profondes », comme une espèce en voie de disparition. Des cowboys solitaires, des hobos isolés, les derniers sioux assiégés par l’économie européenne et sa cavalerie de résolutions. Saisis à la volée et balancée avec vigueur à notre regard.
La terre amoureuse s’ouvre au générique sur ce carton : « Un vrai film ardennais de… ». Tiens, question, ce serait quoi alors un faux film ardennais ? Et d’ailleurs, puisqu’on en parle, qu’est-ce qu’un film ardennais ? La réponse est là, dans l’épaisseur des images, la vivacité de cette caméra, l’énergie qui s’en dégage. Un vrai film ardennais semble être un film qui plonge les deux mains dans le cambouis des emmerdes de paysans, et les deux pieds dans le désir ensorcelant d’une terre amoureuse. Car la terre est amoureuse en Ardennes, paraît-il, elle est comme une femme, disent-ils tous, ou chantent-ils, plutôt, dans leur espèce de rock d’église irrévérencieux et surchauffé, une femme qui veut être ensemencée, une femme pleine de désirs et persévérante quant à ce qu’elle veut, qui ne se laissera pas abandonner. Et Bonmariage de formuler ainsi sa question, leur question : « Mais comment vivre cette passion de la terre quand c’est la terre elle-même qui disparaît ? » Que la possibilité même de l’aimer, d’en vivre, de l’ensemencer, est menacée ?
Manu Bonmariage n’y va pas par quatre chemins. Il ne fait pas de longs plans esthétiques sur la campagne embrumée. Son propos n’est pas là. Caméra au poing, au corps, Bonmariage y va, il est là, levé aux aurores pour prendre le café avec l’un, pour capturer ici la première traite des vaches. Il pose ses questions, n’efface pas sa présence, saisi des mises en scène, des interrogations, des dénuements. Sa caméra est en sillage, elle suit, elle bouscule. Il est là, un corps qui avance dans le réel, qui s’en coltine la pesanteur, la rugosité, la lourdeur, mais aussi la beauté, la joie, les éclats. Dans son refus de toute sorte de bucolique, avec sa musique rock qui vient faire vibrer soir et matin, dans cette caméra chaotique qui tente de saisir des morceaux d’une réalité éparse, Bonmariage véhicule la même énergie qui agite ceux qu’il filme. Et particulièrement cette figure centrale et patriarcale de La terre amoureuse, pivot de toute une famille, Daniel Lambotte, personnalité tonitruante et attachante, chaleureuse et colérique, bulldozer bosseur amoureux des femmes, des vaches et de son exploitation qui fait sa fierté, ses angoisses, ses questions - son beau souci.
Plus que des modes de vie en voie d’extinction, Bonmariage filme des choix de vie qui s’avèrent désormais (et presque malgré eux) plus ou moins radicaux. Pour certains, ces paysans sans enclos, sans étable, qui baladent leurs vaches comme ils l’entendent, c’est presque un nomadisme sur une terre entière qui semble leur appartenir. Pour d’autres, ces vaches qu’ils aiment et qui leur demandent tant de boulot, comment les rentabiliser pour réussir à se battre, à faire face, à tenir tête ? Pour continuer donc. Pour d’autres encore, c’est toute la question de leur vie familiale et amoureuse qui est en jeu, dans l’isolement qu’ils ont choisi et leur dur labeur. Ces hommes humbles ou forts, riches ou plus pauvres, luttent encore, ne serait-ce que parce qu’ils vivent là, toujours, et aspirent, assiégés, éreintés ou insouciants, à continuer, encore. Appétit de vivre, d’amour, d’argent, de chants, de fièvres et de musiques, dans ces Ardennes lointaines, voilà tout ce que le cinéma de Bonmariage vient convoquer à travers ces hommes et ces femmes dont il capte les aspirations et la soif inextinguible de liberté.

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Little Heaven

Lieven Corthouts

a documentary film by Lieven Corthouts

in coproduction with Lichtpunt, with support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, the Belgian Development Cooperation, the Belgian Federal Government Tax Shelter. Distributed by Taskovski Films

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Lieven Corthouts. In coproduction with Lichtpunt, with support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, the Belgian Development Cooperation. Distributed by Taskovski Films

developped at ESODOC 2010 and the Berlinale Talent Campus 2011

Right In the heart of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is a small orphanage called 'Little Heaven'. One of the orphans, Lydia, is 13 today.  A truly joyful event, because she can now move to the ‘other house‘ where all of the ‘big kids’ live.  Unfortunately this special day is  overshadowed by the shocking news delivered to her by the head nurse: Lydia is HIV positive.

The children living in the Ethiopian orphanage 'Little Heaven' are told that they have HIV on the day of their 13th birthday.
For the main character Lydia, this is without a doubt one of the most emotional events in her life, and with difficulty she can now understand why she is an orphan, and why she is so often ill and in hospital. More significantly she can now understand why the husband of her sister Betty didn’t want to have Lydia in their home any longer.
In spite of this sad news, Lydia has no intention of sitting at home being depressed. She wants to live, and to dream. This is why as soon as she arrives into the room of the new orphanage, she hangs her motto above her bed: “I want to be happy every day”.

The other children in the new orphanage do all they can to support Lydia. At first glance, they look like any normal group of young children: they go to school, they play together in the courtyard of the orphanage, and they have fun laughing on their bunk beds.
The children in the orphanage live as independently as they can. Apart from taking their daily dose of medication they try as much as possible to exclude the burden of illness from their daily lives. However, Lydia suffers quite a lot with her own health and is continually confronted with her illness during frequent hospital visits.  "I sometimes feel like a chemist shop with all the medication I have to take,” she sighs. Lydia’s illness also prevents her from doing what she absolutely adores the most but no longer has the strength for, which is dancing.
The children in the orphanage receive news that the students with the best results can go to a better school in the coming year.  This news encourages Lydia to persevere with her illness, and towards her dream to become a teacher later on in life, and she is now more determined than ever before to make this dream come true.  

The director, Lieven Corthouts, lived in the Little Heaven orphanage for two years and placed Lydia’s story at the heart of this documentary. The director follows Lydia, the main character with HIV in the lead-up to an important school exam. Will Lydia’s marks be high enough for her to get into a better school and create a light at the end of this tunnel of struggle and set-backs?
Lydia reveals to viewers how her life vacillates between hope and despair through fragments from her diary.  
Little Heaven is a hard and confrontational story that never gives in to a sense of desperation thanks to the energy and vitality of the children and their caretakers in the orphanage.


directed & filmed by Lieven Corthouts
edited by Jan De Coster
sound design & mix Nils Fauth
commissioning editor Lichtpunt Wim Van Rompaey


The titular orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, provides the setting and subject of the quietly affecting docu "Little Heaven." Lieven Corthouts' film concentrates on one girl, Lydia Berhanu, who on her 13th birthday learns that she, like all the children there, is HIV-positive, the camera present to record her shock and tears. Free of exposition, relying solely on voiceover diary entries and close-up observation, the docu traces Berhanu's lively interaction with other kids, calm acceptance of her illness and drive to succeed. Its unwavering focus dispels any lurking sentimentality in this oddly upbeat entry; PBS and cable distribs should take notice.
Corhouts spent two years at the orphanage, capturing the daily rituals of the kids, who infuse their every chore with energy and mischievous joy. Darker emotions, abandonment issues and religious prejudice are effectively handled by warm, empathetic counselors. Although Berhanu is shown apart from the others, as a heart condition prevents her from joining in group games, the other children are drawn to her sweetness, ready responsiveness and unpretentious intelligence. Indeed, her expressive face lingers in the mind long after the film ends.
Another African story, this positively touching documentary follows a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl who has just learned that she was born with HIV and will be moving to a new orphanage (the Little Heaven of the title) for kids her age similarly afflicted with the disease. Anchoring the narrative on young Lydia’s diary, read by the subject as voiceover narration, director Lieven Corthouts keeps the film incredibly upbeat, appropriately paying mind to the girl’s mantra of trying to be happy every day.

With its jazzy soundtrack, rhythmic montages and occasional inclusion of Lydia’s dance moves, Little Heaven reminds me of the recent dreamy musical-tinged documentary Bombay Beach. Yet it’s not so much a fantastical approach to the would-be sorrowful subject matter as it is an inspiring look at a smart, compassionate and courageous kid whose uncanny spirit keeps her going in spite of her misfortune.

The Upcoming
Aware of the manipulation a skilfully edited documentary can have upon an audience, Little Heaven initially caused concern in the nimble reveal of its subject matter: HIV positive children living in an orphanage in Ethiopia.
It instantly churns worry and strife in stomachs; the delicate ground being covered could so very easily slide into an avalanche of mawkish, condescending and idiotic sentimentality. It was with much relief that a short way into Lieven Corthouts’ documentary, it became evident that the film was thankfully by far greater than those incendiary components.
Lydia is told on her thirteenth birthday she was born, as all the other children in the orphanage, hosting the HIV virus. Bursting into tears, the crash landing into the reality of this conversation shakes Lydia, but although instantly served to swallow, it isn’t dwelt upon, coming across as more of an empathetic bridge that she (and the audience) must cross. Lydia, now a teenager, is presented with the possibility of a future in which she has to carve out new friendships, study hard and learn to comprehend her illness – All to create a future for herself.
There is a clear through line in Little Heaven; the intentional humanising of the children along with the functional aspects of spreading the word about the availability of medicine, are shown with an honest transparency, both of which are matched by the director’s commitment and vision to his film. Corthouts spent a number of years with the children, building relationships and gaining trust. As a result, the footage captured in the orphanage is as relaxed and natural as it could be, although it appears occasionally a touch too fluid, raising a questioning eyebrow to possibilities of scripting. Yet further contemplation of this becomes overturned through the very smart editing and shuffling of narratives, which maybe work against the film a touch, making it feel a little too slick at points.
The satisfaction of watching a documentary about such moribund topics being dealt with in such a positive fashion, felt like an invigorating and fresh trajectory. There isn’t a bombardment of bleak images here, rather a humane depiction of the children and their growing pains, both common and unique, which amass into an uplifting and spirited film – Highly recommended.
Verdict: ••••


Lieven Corthouts
Date of Birth: 15/01/1975

Script, camera, editing


Documentary on Apiculture in Bure (Amhara), Ethiopia  
Web films (15) for the Gene Bank and Forest Diversity in Addis Ababa  
Documentary about Fodder in Debre Zeit (Oromo), Ethiopia  
Documentary film ‘My Future’  

Funded by Flemish Film Fund and the Belgian Development Cooperation 
Reportage film ‘A long distance dream’  

Broadcasted by VRT (Belgium), ZDF (Germany) and the Swiss television

‘The Curo show’, a Belgian rock band is recording a disk in Andalusia, Spain.  
The influences of gypsy flamA kind of making of...

Awards / Festivals

World premiere at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) Netherlands, 2011
Special mention at Docville, Leuven, Belgium, 2012
Official selection Movies That Matter, Den haag, Netherlands, 2012
Official selection Opendoek festival, Turnhout, Belgium, 2012
Official selection Planete +Doc Film Festival, Warsaw & Wroclav, Poland, 2012
Official selection Human Rights Watch Film Festival, London (UK) & New York (USA), 2012
Official selection Addis Film Festival, Ethiopia, 2012
Official selection Seoul Human Rights Film Festival, South-Korea, 2012
Official selection L´Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona, Spain, 2012
Official selection Filmfestival Oostende, Belgium, 2012
Official selection Anthropological Film Festival, Tel Aviv, 2012
Official selection Festroia International Film Festival, Spain, 2012
Official selection Anûû-rû âboro, New Zeeland, 2012
Official selection Millenium Festival, Brussels, Belgium, 2013
Official selection Faito Doc Festival, Monte Faito, Italy, 2014
Official selection Sole Luna Festival, Treviso, Italy, 2014

distributed in Belgium during the Vlaamse Documentaireweken
distributed in the
US and Canada by Human Right Watch. Developed at the Berlinale
Talent Campus, Esodoc and Documentary in Europe.

Supported by the Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund for distribution in Ethiopia

( ... )


Ibbe Daniëls & Koen Vidal


the African Opera Dream

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Ibbe Daniëls and Koen Vidal, in coproduction with VRT-Canvas and Casa Kafka Pictures, Supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, the Belgian Development Cooperation, le centre du Cinéma de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles et de VOO.

Serge Kakudji is a twenty-year-old Congolese opera singer, fighting for his ambitions in Western Europe. Kakudji is the first African to sing arias in the predominately white world of opera music.
That alone makes him unique. Still, he seems to hold his own in our harsh and lonesome reality. Moreso, as the first African ever he stands on the verge of a tremendous international career in opera music. This film tells the story of a man bridging the gap between Europe and Africa.


directed by Ibbe Daniëls
script & interviews Koen Vidal
camera Thomas Fadeux
edited by Raf Serneels
sound mix Nils Fauth
Sound engineer Pascal Braeckman


De Morgen 6 april 2013 - Ebbenhouten aria’s

‘Ik hoop dat deze documentaire de Afrikaanse jongeren kan motiveren om van hun dromen te leven’, zegt de Congolese operazanger Serge Kakudji over het bijzonder fraaie Rêve Kakudji, vanavond in première in Brussel.

Net twee minuten ver in Rêve Kakudji als Serge Kakudji, tegelijk brandpunt en lichtstraal van de film, zegt: “Opera kwam in mijn leven als een meteoriet. Toen ik zeven was, zat ik naar de televisie te kijken en zag ik plots een operascène voorbijflitsen. In de expressie van de zangers, het orkest en de figuranten zag ik een enorme passie. Ik was aan het scherm gekleefd en zei tegen mijn ouders: 'Dat is wat ik later wil doen in het leven.’”
Profetische woorden waren het, ondanks vaders oorspronkelijke tegenwind. Twintig is Kakudji intussen en is niet langer Lubumbashi maar Parijs zijn woonplaats. Hij studeert er aan het conservatorium en vervelt steeds meer tot de meteoriet uit zijn jongensdroom: Afrikaanse contratenor met even imposante torso als adelbrieven. Als een optelsom tot triomf lezen die, tot dusver:
Kakudji verwierf als autodidact een plaats in het lokale jeugd- koor, werd ontdekt door het Franse cultureel centrum in Lubumbashi, werkte samen met choreograaf Faustin Linyekula in Kisangani, Wenen en dankzij KVS-leider Jan Goossens ook in Brussel en speelde de rol van Christus in Pitié, een dansvoor- stelling van Alain Platel.
En nu is er dus ook Rêve Kakudji, een documentaire van Ibbe Daniëls en De Morgen-journalist Koen Vidal, die vanavond in de Brusselse KVS zijn première kent.
Zegt Kakudji: “ Ma belle Bruxelles is misschien wel de belangrijkste stad in mijn leven geweest. Ik heb er heel veel goede mensen ontmoet, zoals Alain Platel, Jan Goossens en Stephan Vanfleteren, en heb er mijn leven opnieuw kunnen opbouwen.”

American Dream

Maar, minstens even belangrijk, ook in thuisland Congo dient Rêve Kakudji getoond. Opera naar Afrika brengen en aldus twee diverse werelden verenigen – cultureel, maatschappelijk en muzikaal – , van die droom maakt Kakudji steeds meer werkelijkheid.
Hij zegt: “Ik hoop dat deze docu- mentaire Afrikaanse jongeren kan motiveren en hen kan overtuigen dat ze ooit van hun dromen zullen kunnen leven. Ik besef zeer goed dat ik ook maar een kleine druppel in de zee ben, maar ik kan de anderen stimuleren om hun passie te ontplooien. Opera zit niet in de Afrikaanse cultuur geworteld, maar er groeit in Afrika steeds meer interesse voor klassieke muziek en er zijn ook steeds meer talenten die komen bovendrijven.”
Twee jaar lang nestelden Daniëls en Vidal zich in Kakudji’s spoor. Als een ebbenhouten Kuifje slalomt Kakudji langs lofts en repetitielokalen in Parijs, kippen en kokosnoten in Congo, zacht gejoel in de Teatro Real in Madrid en luid applaus in de wijken van Lubumbashi. Haast achteloos glijdt hij tussen staccato en sostenuto, Mozart en Monteverdi, roots en roeping. Maker Koen Vidal: “Het mocht zeker geen American Dream-verhaal worden, want Serge leeft niet in een sprookje. Gaandeweg is er een kritische maar opbouwende dynamiek tussen ons ontstaan. Geen banale verwondering, maar elkaar een interculturele spiegel voorhouden die elkanders zoek- tocht naar zelfkennis stimuleert.” Erg mooi is de scène waarin de wijdvertakte familie-Kakudji in het ouderlijke huis is samengekomen om zoon Serge, aangekondigd als
‘een ster van de klassieke muziek’, op een Congolees tv-kanaal over zijn leven in het Westen te zien ver- tellen. Wanneer na nauwelijks tien seconden de elektriciteit de geest geeft, is het niet zozeer het spier- witte kaarslicht maar vooral de brede glimlach van moeder en trotse blik van vader die voor opklaring zorgen.


Kakudji: “Mijn ouders zijn super- fier. Vroeger noemden ze mij een makelaar van dromen, maar nu wordt mijn droom steeds meer realiteit. Ik ben er nog niet en mijn weg is nog lang, maar nu ik op mijn sterkst ben, wil ik er vol voor gaan. En gelukkig heb ik voldoende men- sen die mij enorm goed steunen.”
Een van die houvasten is Laura Claycomb, een Amerikaanse operazangeres die als peetmoeder optreedt en halverwege Rêve Kakudji zegt: “Misschien moet je een bijkomende job in een super- markt zoeken?”
Zegt Kakudji tot slot: “Dit is een scharniermoment in mijn leven, dat voel ik aan alles. Ca passe ou ça casse. Het is een grote uitdaging om alle vooroordelen te blijven over- winnen, wat niet evident is, en zowel muzikaal als menselijk te blijven evolueren. Maar door deze documentaire zal ik natuurlijk nog meer onder de aandacht komen en zal ik dus nog harder moeten wer- ken om mijn droom waar te maken.”

Flanders I - take 24, Autumn 2012

The seed for Ouverture was planted when counter-tenor Serge Kakudji was asked to record the soundtrack for Futur simple, a short film about young people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 'As well as singing we let him dance and gave him a lot of freedom to express himself,' says filmmaker Ibbe Daniëls. The resulting images also found their way into the film. 'He intrigued us.' by Ian Muldell

'That day was really important,' adds journalist Koen vidal, whose book was the inspiration for the short film. 'First of all it was a nice day, with a very good atmosphere. at the same time he had prepared some pieces about children and we heard him singing. and so we started to talk with him.' Kakudji's story was fascinating. here was a young african, only in his twenties, who had fallen in love with opera while listening to cassette tapes as a child. he had come to europe to train as a singer, but remained connected with the congo, with plans to start projects there combining opera with african arts.
'on the one hand it's a small story, in that it's about one person, but on the other it's a big story,' vidal says. it was also an auspicious moment to tell that story. 'he's in a crucial period of his life. i sometimes get the impression that, for him, it is all or nothing.'
daniëls and vidal set out to make a documentary about Kakudji, charting a year of his life. This style of portrait film is not as easy as it sometimes seems. 'you have a kind of script in your head that you cannot reveal to the person you are following, because you don't want to direct them,' Daniëls explains. 'And that was the most difficult thing with this movie: hoping that you've chosen the right moments in his life and that he will be open at the moment when you arrive with the camera.'

football match
The style is on-the-shoulder, but with a redcam to produce a superior image quality. 'We stay very close to serge all the time, with the camera following him through the city,' daniëls says. Each new place − Brussels, Lubumbashi, Paris, Turin, Madrid − is introduced with shots from high above the city. 'This gives some structure to the film. It's as if you fall into the city and can see where he is moving.'
The first part of the journey was to the Congo, where the filmmakers met Kakudji's family and friends. 'His parents are very proud, but they admit that when he was practicing singing opera all the time they were really worried about his future,' vidal recalls. meanwhile the enthusiasm for Kakudji's singing was astonishing. 'The reaction to opera was like a football match!'
in europe they followed his lessons and auditions, culminating in a first professional role, at the Madrid Opera House. Although a confident performer, Kakudji was sometimes less at ease with the camera in europe. 'he wanted to be in control and I was not always allowed to film that desire to control,' daniëls recalls. 'for example, he was not proud of living in a small, expensive room in paris, and talking about that was difficult.'

godmother figure
an important factor in balancing the story was the contribution of american opera singer Laura claycomb, who has become a kind of godmother figure to Kakudji. 'she puts him in his place,' daniëls says. 'We needed that kind of person in the film, because sometimes Serge seems to be dreaming, he thinks he's already made it. she says: "No, you have to finish school and get your grades." And he listens to her.'
The contrast between the dream of becoming an opera singer and the more mundane challenges of leaving home, such as finding an apartment and earning money, is something Vidal and Daniëls wanted to capture in the film. above all, they wanted to avoid suggesting Kakudji was living some sort of fairy tale. 'We don't want to make an "American dream" story,' says Vidal. 'The film doesn't end with him making it. it's an important year for him, but there's still a long way to go.' The filmmakers hope that ouverture (which is still a working title) will also go far, finding an audience at festivals as well as on Tv. They are particularly keen to take it back to the congo. 'it's a different story from those that are usually told 4 about the congo and africa,' vidal says. 'i think it is opening up something between europe and africa, and i'm curious to see how people react on both sides.'


Ibbe Daniels
Documentary is her great passion. She may plenty of documentary films for the Flemish broadcasting company Canvas, like Belpop, a series about the relation between famous people and their mother, and many others.
Futur Simple, a short film about the dreams and wishes of the Congolese children, was her first collaboration with Koen Vidal. Ibbe also directed many commercials and  music videos.

Koen Vidal
After studying Law, a Master in communications and postgraduate practical journalism, Koen Vidal became an editor/journalist in political issues. Some years later he is the responsible editor for foreign news at one of the major intellectual newspapers in Belgium, De Morgen. He leads a group of journalists and he is the pre-eminently africa-expert and -correspondent for the newspaper. He travelled many times into the heart of all major conflict areas in central-africa and beyond. He's a professor/lecturer at Ghent University and the European Erasmus School for Journalism. He wrote several successful books on central-african political conflicts and refugee policy between Africa and Europe. For his work on this matter he received different important awards.

Awards / Festivals

Official Selection Docville, Leuven, Belgium,2013
Official Selection IDFA music documentary competition, Amsterdam, Netherlands 2013
Official Selection Festival du Film Francophone, Namur, Belgium, 2013
Official Selection New York African Film Festival, New York, USA, 2014
Official Selection Salaam Kivu International Film Festival, Kivu, Congo, 2014

( ... )


Rob Rombout

a documentary film by Rob Rombout

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Rob Rombout, in co-production with Mollywood (BE), Zeppers Film (NL), with support from The Flanders Audiovisual Fund, le Centre du Cinéma de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, The Netherlands Film Fund, the Belgian Federal Government Tax Shelter

Robert van Gulik (1910-1967) is perhaps one of the world’s most read authors from the Netherlands. This diplomat, Sinologist and scholar is mainly known for his detective novels starring Judge Dee.
The filmmaker Rob Rombout follows in his footsteps to discover the author’s legacy in his diaries, people he inspired and witnesses to his life. His books are in many respects projections of his own life. In one of his rare interviews, van Gulik let slip the remark: “ … Judge Dee, that’s me…” It can be difficult to draw the line between fact and fiction with a character like Robert van Gulik. In the documentary, reality and fantasy, past and present will flow into each other, at times imperceptibly. The film is a quest where the filmmaker takes us on a journey, by way of side roads, in the author’s tracks. At times by plane, by ship or literally on tracks, by train just as the writer himself often travelled. Fragments of his diaries, archive footage, stylized scenes with witnesses and the filmmaker’s own voice blend into a fascinating cinematic journey.


written en directed by Rob Rombout
director of photogrpahy Stef Tijdink, Benjamin Wolf, Stefano Bertacchini
sound engineer Yves Goossens-Bara
montage Adriana Moreira Oliviera

co-producer Frank van den Engel for Zeppers Film, Mollywood


Rob Rombout is an experienced independent documentarymaker. Besides teaching at filmschools in Belgium he lectures at universities and filmschools all over the world, giving documentary workshops and seminars. He’s a member of several film commissions in Belgium and is often chosen as a jury-member. Since 1985 he directed 17 documentaries and he’s developing several new projects. Travelling is the common thread in his documentaries.
Several of his recent and earlier documentaries were awarded.

Amsterdam Stories USA, 2012 240’ a 'roadmovie' from the east to the west coast of the USA

Panamerica, roadmovie 2010 40’ researchfilm on « roadmovie » ( Chili, Bolivia)

The Jagiellonian University, 2004 24’ programm « Kaleidoscope » : portrait of the University of Cracow ( Poland)

QM2, the enterprise, 2004 70’ the biggest passenger liner ever made

Amsterdam via Amsterdam, 2004 80’ cinematographic expedition to two islands co- director : Roger van Eck

Overloon Penitentiary Centre, 2003 24’ programm « Kaleidoscope » : portrait of a dutch prison

Les passagers de l’Alsace, 2002 52’ portraits of 7 inhabitants of the Alsation region in France

Canton, The Chinese, 2001 52’ artists in a changing urban scenery of Canton co- director : Robert Cahen

The trap of Kerguelen, 2000 40’ a scientific expedition towards the islands of Kerguelen

Perm-mission, 1999 52’ a meeting with contempory documentary-makers in Perm (Ural, Russia)

Amsterdam via Amsterdam, 1997 40’ Work-in-progress, 40 min, copy 35 mm co- director : Roger van Eck

Les Açores de Madredeus, 1995 40’ roadmovie with the portuguese music group Madredeus on the Acores

Black Island, 1994 52’ the working conditions on an oil-platform in the North Sea

Transatlantic, QE2 1992 52’ the last transatlantic liner QE2

Nord Express, 1990 52’ the train that connects Paris to Moscow ever since 1896

Entre deux tours, 1987 16’ two towers , two philosophers

Pas de cadeau pour Noël, 1986 22’ portrait of a lonesome Ruandese man in Liège

The man who talked too much, 1985 26’ portrait of a former union leader in strugle with his former boss.

( ... )


Iurre Telleria & Enara Goikoetxea

a documentary film by Iurre Teloria

in co-production with RTBF (BE), Moztu Filak (ESP) and Amo Film (FR). Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund.

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Iurre Teloria
in co-production with RTBF (BE), Moztu Filak (ESP) and Amo Film (FR). Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund

It was a time when life was like a suspense novel and you never knew how it would end.
But life is stranger than fiction and now, more than sixty years later, The Last Passage returns to the scene of one fateful night in a farmhouse in the Pyrenees when six strangers from five different countries were arrested. The strands of each person’s story unravel to tell the larger story of the hundreds of ordinary people who formed a vast escape network during World War II. 




Iurre Telleria went to London to study film after finishing her Fine Arts studies in Bilbao, specialising in Audiovisuals. After completing her studies she immediately started working as a freelance assistant editor and later editor for ITV, BBC or editing studios, mainly through the agency Soho Editors. During that period she edited pilot for comedy series for BBC or Carlton. Just before returning to the Basque Country she went to Cuba to study film editing at the International Film and Television School.
Back in the Basque Country, she started up her own production company that enabled her to begin her career as producer and director, while continuing to work as an editor. As a director she worked on the documentary “The Pamps” for Eitb, together with her colleague Enara Goikoetxea and has been working on the development of the feature documentary “The Last Passage” for the last two years.
As an editor she worked on many documentaries and documentary series for EiTB, through Orio Produkzioak. Amongst others she worked in “Europa Euskaraz” (series), “Begia Gose” (series), “Txalaparta, the echo of a people” and many more. On this last work, she also did the archive research.
As a producer, she started with the documentaries “Eibarko Armen Museoa” and “Buruntzaldea”. She has also produced several institutional and corporate videos. More ambitious projects were the French-Spanish coproductions “Txalaparta, the echo of a people” and “Des Saumons et des homes”. For the last two years she has been in charge of the production of “The Last Passage”, that she has taken to international markets and pitching sessions such as Docsbarcelona in Barcelona, Mercadoc in Malaga or Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle. She has so far found collaboration in France and Belgium.

Awards / Festivals

Official selection Nantes Spanish Film Festival 2012

( ... )

The boy is gone

Christoph Bohn

a documentary film by Christoph Bohn

in co-production with Simple Production, RTBF and Serious Film, supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Dutch Film Fund, le centre du cinéma et de l'audiovisuel de la communauté française de Belgique

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Christoph Bohn, in co-production with Simple Production, RTBF and Serious Film, supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Dutch Film Fund, le centre du cinéma et de l'audiovisuel de la communauté française de Belgique

Filmmaker Christoph Bohn grew up during the sixties in Kortrijk, a provincial town in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium. However, German was the language spoken at home rather than Flemish.

Christoph’s father originated from Eupen, in the Belgian East Cantons. These ‘German’, or rather
‘German-Belgian’, roots made his youth anything but easy: regularly targeted by school bullies, he was routinely excluded from children’s parties for being the ‘kraut’s’ kid.

Second World War scars were still raw, leaving his father mute about the heavy burden he shouldered for the remainder of his life.

One day, Christoph discovered something in his parents’ bedroom, something which turned his entire world upside down: an old photograph of his father as a fourteen year old in a German uniform, complete with a swastika arm band.

It was never mentioned between them. His father never volunteered to speak of his past, and Christoph’s nerve failed him whenever he thought of the subject. His father died in 2001, taking to his grave in Eupen the answers to many of Christoph’s troubling questions.

Today Christoph Bohn returns to Eupen to investigate and disentangle his father’s true story and the history of the German speaking region.

Using fascinating testimonies, previously unseen archive material and shockingly graphic animated sequences, the web of this little known piece of history is unravelled in a riveting manner.















Interview op

De Standaard
'De oorlogstrauma's zijn nog lang niet verwerkt'

3 mei 2012

BRUSSEL - In 'The boy is gone' toont de regisseur Christoph Bohn hoe Eupen zijn collaborateurs hardnekkiger vervolgde dan andere steden.
Van onze redacteur

Kortrijk, 1969. Terwijl zijn ouders gefascineerd de maanlanding volgen op tv, ontdekt de veertienjarige Christoph Bohn iets wat hij misschien liever niet te weten was gekomen. Op zolder vindt hij een jeugdfoto van zijn vader in nazi-uniform. Dat is de aanleiding voor The boy is gone, de auteursdocumentaire van de inmiddels volwassen geworden regisseur Christoph Bohn. In de film probeert hij een antwoord te bieden op de vraagstukken uit zijn jeugd.

'Mijn vader is nooit een nazisympathisant geweest', vertelt Bohn. 'Integendeel zelfs, in zijn boekenkast stonden Das Kapital van Karl Marx en biografieën van Lenin en Che Guevara. Hij had enkel de pech in Eupen geboren te zijn.'

Bohns vader droomde ervan piloot te worden. Hij sloot zich aan bij de Eupener Segelflugverein, een zweefvliegtuigclub die als dekmantel diende voor nazipropaganda in Oost-Europa. In 1941 werd Eupen, dat pas na het Verdrag van Versailles werd toegewezen aan België, geannexeerd door Duitsland.

'Veel jongeren uit de stad werden verplicht om zich na hun veertiende verjaardag aan te sluiten bij de Hitlerjugend. Mijn vader trok op zijn zestiende naar het Oostfront om mee te vechten met de bezetter. Hij vroeg zich zijn hele leven af waarom het zo moest lopen.'

In de documentaire doorbreekt Bohn verschillende taboes en wordt, naast zijn persoonlijke verhaal, een beeld geschetst van de woelige oorlogsjaren die de bevolking van Eupen doormaakte.

'Wat mij tijdens het creatieproces enorm verbaasde, is dat een volledige generatie het zo moeilijk heeft gehad om met dat oorlogsverleden om te gaan', zegt hij. 'Er zijn mensen die nog steeds hun trauma's niet hebben verwerkt.'

Dat de regisseur het enorm moeilijk had om generatie- en stadsgenoten van zijn vader aan te sporen om over het onderwerp te getuigen, hoeft dus niet te verbazen. Bohns vader heeft gedurende zijn leven nooit met een woord over zijn oorlogsverleden gerept.

'Er heerst nog steeds een enorme sfeer van geheimhouding. Tijdens de vervolging na de oorlog, die in Eupen overigens veel grootschaliger was dan in Vlaanderen of Wallonië, hebben veel mensen alle mogelijke bewijzen van collaboratie vernietigd. Een van de getuigen wilde mij enkel zijn foto's tonen als zijn naam niet zou worden vermeld, hij had zijn moeder immers die belofte gedaan toen ze stierf.'

Naast getuigenissen en archiefmateriaal houdt de documentaire een verrassende troef achter de hand. In de film gebruikt de regisseur namelijk animatiebeelden.

'Enerzijds dient de animatie om de omgeving van Eupen tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog te reconstrueren, anderzijds worden aan de hand van die beelden mijn persoonlijke ervaringen verteld.'


do 26/04/2012 - 19:18

Als kind ontdekt Christophe Bohn een foto van zijn vader in Duits nazi-uniform met hakenkruis. Na de dood van zijn vader maakt hij er een documentaire over, 'The Boy is Gone', waarin hij dat verleden ontrafelt.

Christophe Bohn is een jaar of tien, als hij in een oude doos een foto vindt van zijn vader in een Duits nazi-uniform met swastika-armband. Als kind voelt hij instinctief aan dat die armband iets "boosaardigs en misdadigs" heeft, maar hij spreekt er zijn vader nooit over aan. Zijn vader die hij omschrijft als "een zwijgzame man die schijnbaar innerlijk gekweld werd door een groot verdriet".

Twee jongens
Na de dood van zijn vader besluit Christophe Bohn om diens verleden uit te spitten, naar zijn geboortestad Eupen te reizen en er een documentaire over te maken. "Iedereen wil weten wie zijn ouders zijn, wat ze gedaan hebben, waar je vandaan komt. Dat is eigenlijk een zoektocht naar jezelf."

De documentaire 'The Boy is Gone' is dan ook het verhaal van twee jongens, zegt Bohn. Het is het verhaal van de vader maar ook van de zoon, die allebei op een bepaald moment in hun leven hun kinderlijke onschuld verliezen: vader in de oorlog, zoon als hij die shockerende ontdekking doet.

Gesloten deuren
Christophe Bohn ontdekt dat zijn vader ervan droomde om piloot te worden, maar dat die droom hem regelrecht in de armen van de Nazi's dreef. Dat hij zich als 17-jarige vrijwillig meldde bij het Duitse leger, als kanonnenvlees gebruikt werd en uiteindelijk krijgsgevangene genomen werd.

Die puzzel bleek niet eenvoudig te leggen: veel materiaal is verdwenen, mensen willen er niet over spreken, zelfs de vrienden en de broer van zijn vader niet. Om de ontbrekende stukken in te vullen gebruikt Bohn (veelvuldig) animatiebeelden. Animatiebeelden zijn trouwens heel geschikt om de naïviteit en de imaginaire wereld van het kind weer te geven.

"Ergens is deze film ook een vorm  van therapie geweest," zegt Bohn. Hij ziet zijn vader nog niet als een held, maar heeft wel begrip voor wat hij gedaan heeft in het verleden. En met 'The Boy is Gone' vraagt de filmmaker ook begrip -én eerherstel- voor alle inwoners van Eupen en omstreken, die te lang -en geheel ten onrechte- afgeschilderd zijn als Nazi's.


The Boy is Gone**** Jeudi 19. La trois. 21:h05
"Je m'appelle Christoph Bohn. Je suis ne dans une petite ville bourgeoise du fin fond de l'ouest de la Belgique, à deux pas de la frontière française. Là, on parle Ie flamand, mais pas chez moi. chez nous, on parlait l'allemand. Mon père était originaire d'Eupen. [...] il avait un coté taiseux, comme s'il avait en lui une grande tristesse qui l'empêchait de parler. Ie Ie savais depuis longtemps, quelque chose clochait chez moi. Parfois, je me sentais Belge. parfois, Allemand. Parfois, les deux. Parfois, rien du tout [...] Moi, Ie petit gamin en culotte de cuir, je n'arrivais pas a comprendre, jusqu'à ce jour ou j'ai fait cette terrible découverte."
Lors de cette nuit de juillet 1969, l'homme marche sur la lune, mais Christoph Bohn - enfant - n'est pas devant la télévision. II fouine dans la chambre de ses parents et découvre une vieille photo de son père, décoré de la croix des jeunesses hitlériennes. A la foi  quête identitaire et familiale, "The Boy is Gone" dresse Ie portrait d'une région, Eupen, écartelée entre deux nationalités a travers une chapitre peu connu et encore tabou de l'histoire de la communauté allemande de Belgique. Cuite du corps et de la race aryenne mise en place par Ie me Reich a travers les clubs sportifs eupennois, enrôlement dans l'armée d' outre-Rhin de jeunes adolescents des rage de 16' ans: Christophe Bohn interroge les derniers témoins vivants.
Le magazine "Fenêtre sur docs" s' est souvent illustré par la qualité de ses documentaires, mais celui-ci est exceptionnel.
Au-delà de la richesse du témoignage historique, de la diversité des moyens techniques utilises (images d'animation, archives locales et familiales, interviews,
lettres et cartes postales d'époque, etc.) et de la poésie désarmante du récit, Christophe Bohn signe une déclaration d'amour bouleversante, celle d'un fils a son
père aujourd'hui disparu. "Men père a clairement balance entre son sens du devoir, son envie d' aventure et un idéalisme compris de travers. [ ... ] jamais, il ne lui est venu a l'esprit qu'Hitler l'avait utilise comme de la vulgaire chair à canon.
[ ... ] Je n'ai jamais eu l'occasion de Ie comprendre, d'accepter ses choix et de partager sa douleur. Apres ce voyage dans Ie passe, les choses me semblent plus claires. Son passe ne l'a jamais lâché. II a baigné dans Ie culte de la patrie. Moi,
pas. Je sais désormais pourquoi, et je dois I'en remercier. Pour lui, Eupen a toujours été allemande. c'est la qu'il est enterré, et j' espère qu'il y a trouve son salut."
An. M.

FENÊTRE SUR DOCS, 17/07/2012

Pour  le  deuxième  documentaire  de  la  série  "Fenêtre  sur  Doc",  La  Trois  revient  sur  une  page  sombre de  l’histoire  de  la  Belgique.  Un  cinéaste  originaire  des  cantons  de  l’Est  découvre  le  passé  trouble  de son  père  pendant  la  deuxième  guerre  mondial  et  dresse  le  portrait  d’une  région  écartelée  entre  deux nationalités. The Boy is Gone, un documentaire de Christophe Bohn à voir sur La Trois le jeudi 19 juillet à 21h05.

Sur base de ses souvenirs personnels, le réalisateur raconte ici  un chapitre peu connu de l'histoire de la communauté allemande en Belgique. En 1969, alors qu’il n’était qu’un jeune enfant, Christophe Bohn a découvert dans une boite en carton, une photo-portrait de son père portant un uniforme nazi décoré de la croix gammée. Mais il n’a jamais trouvé le courage d  affronter son père. Ce n'est qu'après sa mort que Christophe Bohn a pu explorer cette page sombre de l'histoire de la famille.
Il entame alors un travail pour apprendre la vérité sur le passé de son père et part dans sa ville natale. Il y découvre comment des jeunes des cantons de l’Est avaient été enrôlés par la propagande nazie. L’armée allemande envahit la Belgique en 1940 et entraîne dans son sillage  de jeunes gens âgés parfois de moins de 16 ans. Le père du cinéaste, Karl Bohn, avait alors  13 ans. Il  est actif dans les mouvements de jeunesse noyautés par les nazis et  est passionné de vols en planeur jusqu’au moment où  éclate la guerre. Certains de ces jeunes ont été enrôlés dans l’armée et envoyés sur le front de l’est.  Après la guerre et la défaite de l’Allemagne, la moitié d’entre eux  sont rentrés au pays. En explorant l’histoire familiale, le réalisateur explore ainsi une  page sombre de l’histoire belge encore taboue. Il signe ici un
film original, un voyage mêlant images d’archives, animation et témoignages émouvants.
Marianne De Muylder et Anne Schiffmann



1986   Lic. Sociology, RUG, Gent
1988   Film, Sint-Lukasschool, Brussels
1989   London Film School, London, UK


till 1992
feature and short films, commercials,… (Brussels, London, Paris,...)
Director  ‘Sanseveria’ (10 episodes television series)  

1993 – 2008
Director commercials, musicvideo’s, corporates,…
Marc Moulin (QUASIMODO / EMI / BLUE NOTE), Wynn’s (BANANA SPLIT), KBC (BOHSTEN), Bru (BOHSTEN), Citroën (PIX & MOTION), Nieuwsblad (BOHSTEN), GB (ZIA), DH (BOHSTEN), Lords Of Acid (ANTLER / BOHSTEN), Guylian (BOHSTEN), Tiger Tiger (SHORT ATTACKS / EMI), Charlie (QUASIMODO / SONY), JBC (BANANA SPLIT), Honda (GUESS), Ogalo (ARIZONA), Sara (EMI / NOVAK), Sara&Clouseau (EMI/POOPOOPIDOO), BUG (SHORT ATTACKS), Jan Leyers (POOPOOPIDOO/EMI), Focus Magazine (SEVEN), Philips (SEVEN), Babyliss (Poopoopidoo), Ricoh (Poopoopidoo), Truckpoint (Dentsu), Bridgestone (Dentsu), CONAIR (Dixon USA), UGC (Poids Plume), Nationale Bank (Keyline)…

DOP and sound engineer for documentaries in India, Pakistan, Senegal, RSA, Bolivia, Egypt, Brazi,…

(PRODUCO PRODUCTION (Amsterdam), BOHSTEN (Brussels), OVIEDO (Barcelona), STILLKING (Prague), …)

First A.D. music video’s London (production : Oil Factory, Mad Cow, La Vie Est Belle, …) for U2, 7XNITE, UNCLE, Sinead O’Connor, The Pogues,…
Production manager ‘L’Instit’ (K2)
First A.D. ‘ELLEKTRA’, feature film COSMOKINO, Rudolf Mestdagh
Director TV-soap feuilleton ‘Wittekerke’

Awards / Festivals

Official Selection Docville 2012

Official Selection Filmfestival oostende 2012

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Samuel Tilman

a documentary film by Samuel Tilman

in coproduction with Eklektik, VRT-Canvas, RTBF, ARTE with support from Flanders Audiovisuel Fund, Wallimage, centre du cinéma de la communauté française de la Belgique.

Mini-foto voor intro: 

a documentary film by Samuel Tilman, in coproduction with Eklektik, VRT-Canvas, RTBF, ARTE with support from Wallimage, Flanders Audiovisuel Fund, centre du cinéma de la communauté française de la Belgique.
An ambitious and original project about one of the most turbulent African countries: Congo. This film is completely edited from original archive footage and new animation sequences.





Awards / Festivals

RTBF  (Belgium/Wallonia)
VRT-Canvas (Belgium/Flanders)
ARTE (France)
Planète (France)
Ceska TV (TCzech Republic)
TV3 (Spain/Catalonia)
LTV (Letvia)
RSI (Switserland/Italian region)

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