Record year for Flemish films in 2007


BRUSSELS -- Flemish cinema enjoyed a record year in 2007 thanks to such local movies as Dominique Deruddere's "Firmin" and Nic Balthazar's "Ben X."

Audience figures for Flemish films surged past the record set in 2003, were 25% higher than last year and more than double the 2004 number, according to figures from the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF).

Even before the year is out, the VAF said that the 1.1 million admissions to Flemish movies in Belgium had beaten the 2003 milestone, set when "The Alzheimer Case" (The Memory of a Killer), "Team Spirit 2" and "Any Way the Wind Blows" were showing.

Five Flemish Belgian films attracted more than 100,000 cinemagoers this year. Two films already have exceeded the 200,000 mark: "Firmin" (219,721) and "Ben X" (253,473). "Ben X," Belgium's entry for the foreign-language film Oscar, also is set for a remake for the U.S. market.

They were followed by the police drama "Missing" (Vermist), directed by Jan Verheyen, which set a record for a local film at the Belgian boxoffice, grossing €341,000 its opening five days (its admissions total is 175,696).

Meanwhile, the children's movie "Plop en de Pinguin" (Plop and the Penguin) has been seen by 116,159, and Miel Van Hoogenbemt's "Man Zkt Vrouw" (A Perfect Match) garnered 119,097 admissions.

Other Flemish successes include Mischa Kamp's "Het Paard van Sinterklass" (Where Is Winky's Horse?), Felix Von Groeningen's "Dagen zonder life" (With Friends Like These), and Koen Mortier's award-winning "Ex Drummer."

The numbers are expected to be boosted further by the latest sequel in the series about the Flemish girls' band K3. "K3 dn de Kattenprins" will be released Wednesday Kinepolis Film Distribution, whose catalog includes six of the 10 top-grossing films on the Flemish charts.