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Café Derby wins again


Café Derby, the semi-autobiographical feature debut of director Lenny Van Wesemael, has won two prizes at the 17th edition of the International Film Festival of Aubagne (14-19 March) in France. Wim Opbrouck was named Best Actor, while newcomer Chloë Daxhelet won the prize for Best Actress. One week earlier, Café Derby picked up four awards at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, including the one for Best Film.

“I’m very happy that the film’s two main actors have won a prize,”, said Lenny Van Wesemael as she thanked the festival jury on behalf of Wim Opbrouck in a video message that also featured young Chloë Daxhelet.

For her debut feature, Van Wesemael was inspired by the story of her own father and the visit of Pope John Paul II to Belgium in 1985. Flemish actor Opbrouck (In Flanders Fields, Salamander) plays Georges, a born stallholder who can sell anything to anyone. When he hears that the Pope is coming to Belgium, he is convinced that a fortune is there for the taking. But his world-weary wife and five children have seen it all before…

Newcomer Daxhelet plays Opbrouck’s on-screen daughter, Sara. Other cast members include Ben Segers (Quick Me Quick) and Monic Hendrickx (Penoza). The DOP was Ruben Impens, with Thomas Pooters as editor. Lady Linn arranged the soundtrack, Van Wesemael having directed several video clips for the singer in the past.

Café Derby opened the Ostend Film Festival in September, followed by its international premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The film also screened at festivals in Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Brussels and Vancouver.

Van Wesemael and Geert Verbanck wrote the screenplay of Café Derby, which was produced by Dirk Impens for Menuet (Belgica, The Broken Circle Breakdown). The film received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz and was also backed by the Screen Flanders economic fund, under the aegis of Flemish Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Gatz.