Time of My Life for Balthazar, whose Ben X sells for remake
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
10/02/2012 - While Belgian director Nic Balthazar’s new feature Time of My Life last month took near to 65,000 admissions in its first ten days of domestic release (it will be launched at this year’s European Film Market in Berlin), his 2007 prize-winning Ben X [trailer, film focus] has been sold for a Swedish remake, it was announced today (February 10) by Flanders Image.
Besides a book and a play (staged in France, the UK, US and Australia), Ben X is being adapted for a musical which will open this autumn in Belgium. It is the story of a mildly autictic teenager, a sitting duck for the school bullies, who takes revenge that's inspired by a mystery girl and fuelled by a video game.
The Swedish make-over will be directed by Erik Leijonberg (Brothers: The Return), Not Even The Past) from a script by Alex Haridi. Producers Martin Söder and Tomas Bäckström, of Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, will begin principal photography on March 26.
Balthazar’s original version – and feature debut - was the first film to win the Black Pearl at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Film Festival, adding both the Grand Prix des Amériques and the Audience Award in Toronto. It sold to a total of 50 territories worldwide.
Touted at the European Film Market by Films Distribution, Time of My Life stars Koen De Graeve, Geert Van Rampelberg and Viviane De Muynck and portrays the man who was not only instrumental in legalising euthanasia in Belgium, but also the first to make use of the law.
Flanders Image Manager Christian de Schutter is this year representing a Belgian short in the Berlinale’s Culinary Cinema, Laura Zuallaert’s Asparragos, while another two features in the festival’s official selection are co-productions, Klaarte Quirijns’s Anton Corbijn Inside Out (Berlinale Special) and Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Taking Chances (Generation Kplus).
Besides Time of My Life, Flanders Image has programmed market screenings of another five of the region’s ten-12 annual features, plus five co-productions. Included in his new catalogue is The Broken Circle Breakdown, by Felix van Groeningen of The Misfortunates [trailer, film focus] fame. Starring Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenberg, it follows a young couple trying to cope with the death of their six-year-old daughter.