The Congress, best European animation film

  • 09.12.2013

These awards were given by various juries, except for the five most important ones: the best film, the best director, the best actors and the best screenplay were elected on the net or by mail by the 2900 members of the Academy, 89 of whom are Belgian. This puts Belgium in ninth place in terms of membership. Germany has 492, followed by Great Britain and France.

Since the inception of the European Film Awards in 1988, Belgian productions had won a total of nine prizes before this latest edition. Among the winners are Jaco Van Dormael (Toto le héros), the Dardenne brothers (Le gamin au vélo) and Hans Van Nuffel (Oxygène).
Yesterday, the national quota made good progress.


Belgium has indeed distinguished itself with a series of prestigious awards: Veerle Baetens, the broken heroine of The Broken Circle Breakdown, was elected actress of the year for her incredible performance in Felix Van Groeningen’s film. On stage, she offered us a speech of a crazy emotion that she concludes by thanking… Belgium that she wants to continue to see united because “together”, she says, “we achieve great things”.
Veerle was opposed to Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Luminita Gheorghiu (Child’s Pose) and Barbara Sukowa (Hannah Arendt). Solid!


As we already knew for a few months, Vincent Bal won with Nono, The Zig Zag Kid, the Young Audience Award, given by a jury of 600 young spectators gathered to watch three selected films. The announcement of his award was nevertheless integrated into the evening, as it is an integral part of the official prize list.

Perhaps more unexpected, but tremendously exciting, Tom van Avermaet won the award for the best European short film of the year for Dood Van een Schaduw/Death of a Shadow, the short film with Matthias Schoenaerts and Benjamin Ramon. The special effects for this 2013 Oscar-nominated gem were done in Alleur by Digital Graphics. Proficiat, Umé gentlemen!


The last Belgian award of the evening is directly related to Wallimage: the Award for the best animation film was given to Ari Folman, for his disconcerting Congress, co-produced here by Entre Chien et Loup and co-financed by the Walloon fund.


From the beginning, Diana Elbaum has supported the project at arm’s length. His company was totally involved and allowed two Belgian studios to collaborate in the artistic success of the feature film: the Walking the Dog studio worked on the animation while Mikros Images Liège worked on the Special Effects. Ari Folman did not fail to recall this on stage.

The Congress tells the story of Robin Wright (in her own role) who is offered by Miramount to be digitally scanned. The production company will thus be able to freely exploit his image in the cinema. VIngt years later, Robin Wright is the guest of honor at the Miramount Nagasaki Convention, where she presents her latest invention: living her movie on prescription…

This enticing pitch is adapted from the classic SF literature, The Futurology Congress written by Stanislas Lem in 1971. Taking up this totally crazy challenge that mixes animation and live-action film took Ari Folman, director revealed at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival with Waltz with Bashir, many years. The Congress opened the Directors’ Fortnight on the Croisette this year.

For the rest it is La Grande Bellezza that won the European Award for Best Film. Its main actor, the Italian Toni Servillo was elected best actor and Paolo Sorrentino, best director.

The meeting is already scheduled for next year in Riga. With the Dardenne brothers on the front of the bandstand?