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The Ardennes and Dark Inclusion win in Beaune


The feature debut of Robin Pront, The Ardennes, has won the Fresh Blood Prize (Prix Sang Neuf) at the eight edition of the International Thriller Film Festival in Beaune, France (30 March – 3 April). Director Robin Pront was on hand to accept the award in Beaune, which comes just before the French release of the film on April 13 by distributor Diaphana.

“It’s extraordinary that a Flemish director is winning prizes as a new talent with his first film,” says The Ardennes producer Bart Van Langendonck. “Beaune is an important festival for genre films and this prize for The Ardennes endorses the positive reactions in the French press.”

Last year, The Ardennes had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it gained a lot of international interest. Leading website IndieWire labelled Pront one of the seven ‘breakout’ directors to watch in Toronto. In the renowned British magazine ‘Sight & Sound’, editor-in-chief Nick James placed the film among his 10 TIFF favourites.

Shortly after Toronto, Diaphana Distribution won a ‘bidding war’ for the French theatrical rights, followed by distributors in the UK (Studiocanal), the US (Film Movement) and Italy (Satine Film).

Meanwhile, the American remake rights to The Ardennes have been acquired by Los Angeles-based production house The Firm. “This family drama about the betrayal between two brothers was one of the most anticipated films in Toronto,” said The Firm’s Robbie Brenner, whose production slate includes Dallas Buyers Club and Out of the Furnace.

At the start of The Ardennes, a brutal robbery goes badly wrong. Dave, one of the two robbers, manages to run off leaving his brother Kenneth behind. Four years later, Kenneth is released from prison and much has changed. Dave has his life back on track and is trying to help Kenneth wherever possible, but has to look on while his highly-strung brother tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, Sylvie. Pront and Jeroen Perceval wrote the original screenplay together.

Finally, Van Langendonck also had another reason to celebrate in Beaune as the Flemish co-producer of Arthur Harari’s feature debut, Dark Inclusion. The French thriller, which was mainly shot in Antwerp, received the Festival’s Jury Award.

The Ardennes was produced by Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film (Bullhead, The Land of the Enlightened, Tonic Immobility) in co-production with Eyeworks Belgium and PRPL in The Netherlands. The film received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. The Screen Flanders economic fund, under the aegis of Flemish Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Gatz, also backed The Ardennes and Dark Inclusion.