Ostend Film Festival to explore how to sell Flanders to international productions
Flanders doesn’t have a high profile as an international filming location, but the locals are keen to change all that. The Ostend Film Festival in West Flanders will explore how to sell Flanders and Belgium more effectively, and will feature Sue Hayes, formerly of Film London, as a guest speaker.
Flanders has two schemes designed to boost its industry. The Flemish Audiovisual Fund encourages domestic production and international co-productions, while Location Flanders is designed to promote specific Flanders locations. The Film & Tourism Conference, organised by Location Flanders inside the framework of the Ostend Film Festival, will specifically look at attracting international projects.
Flanders needs a story. Something that enables them to say ‘We are Film Flanders and this is what we’ve done’ when it comes to building more international appeal.
Hayes will address the festival on her experiences of boosting a city’s popularity: “In my experience the key is to form partnerships on a local level and to build a policy regarding location filming. It’s a matter of looking at the local infrastructure, local services and building support on the ground.
“Flanders needs a story. Something that enables them to say ‘We are Film Flanders and this is what we’ve done’ when it comes to building more international appeal.”
Fabian Desmicht, of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, said: "Flanders' film cities jointly had well over 1,200 days of shooting during 2010. Most of the production has been domestic, but we welcomed some noteworthy foreign productions too, namely The Hot Potato, BBC documentaries Coast and The First World War From Above, Das Haus Anubis and Largo Winch II."
Dark comedy In Bruges is perhaps the highest-profile international film to have shot in Belgium in recent years. It’s critically-acclaimed but part of the comedy comes from one of the main characters being pretty vocal about how unimpressed he is with the city.
The Ostend Film Festival starts today and finishes on 10th September.
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