Frédéric Delcor - Director of the Belgian French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre
by Aurore Engelen
04/05/2012 - Frédéric Delcor has headed the Belgian French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre since September 2008. Here, he speaks to Cineuropa about the vitality of Belgian French cinema abroad and key issues facing the sector at home.
French-speaking Belgium at Cannes
Each year, with stunning regularity, a little miracle happens. Our little community is represented with verve in the different selections in Cannes. This presence is the result of work by our talents, of course, but also of the structures set up by the French Community of Belgium, the quality of our technical industries and of our training, and our producers’ ongoing professionalisation. Public authorities have realised the importance of the audiovisual sector, both culturally and economically, as well as in terms of cultural diffusion abroad, and the French Community of Belgium is the first partner of our producers. This aid, combined with that of Wallimage, the VAF, and the Tax Shelter, contributes to funding creation and ensuring a renewal in generations. This year [in Cannes], for example, we have a filmmaker of confirmed talent in Joachim Lafosse, but also a newcomer in David Lambert.
Open to the world
Our producers have upheld a tradition of co-production, a necessity for a community our size. We cooperate with our French neighbours of course, but also with other countries, in production, but also in terms of exchanging talent. These collaborations, based on an tacit reciprocity agreement, nourish the economic and artistic vitality of the sector. We have also just signed a co-production agreement with China on which we have been working for several years. We had to find the right way to correctly engage with the country and overcome the cultural shock, but with this agreement we are responding to the will of our professionals, and hope that it will allow certain ongoing projects to become a reality.
Belgium: Operation Seduction
For several years now, we have been working on repairing a certain imbalance. Even if our film sector enjoys wide international recognition, this doesn’t make our fellow countrymen proud enough in our view. Sure, we are not a nationalist people, which in many way is a great thing, notably in terms of being open to the world. But it shouldn’t stop us from seeing our own talent when it is clearly there! The two first editions of the Magritte Awards clearly showed the fertility of our film sector, and the diversity of its talents. The 2012 edition, which awarded Bouli Lanners and Mathias Schoenaerts side-by-side [both now in Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone], also highlighted vital exchanges between the French-speaking and Flemish film sectors. We have everything to gain from working together, and the common budgets for aid to fiction and documentary productions that we have set up with the VAF should further encourage this. For a long time, we limited ourselves to a simplistic discourse about Belgian cinema, saying that Flemish films were commercial, while its auteurs were from the south. Today, the films, their auteurs, and their producers have shattered this caricature. Both in the north and in the south, good quality films are being produced and reaching out to their audiences, and we are making them together!