Belgium's first digital movie to open Flanders Fest

16 Aug 2002
The world première screening of Dominique Standaert's directorial debut Hop is to open this year's 29th edition of the Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent (8-19 October 2002).

The film about a Burundese teenager's attempts to be reunited with his deported father stars Jan Decleir, Antje De Boeck and star football player Emile M'Penza (FC Schalke 04) who makes his acting debut in the film. Hop is also the first feature film production in Belgium digitally shot with Sony's revolutionary HD 24 P digital camera.

Justin (Keïta Kalomba), a streetwisre boy from Burundi lives with his father Dieudonné Karikurubu (Ansou Diedhou) in Brussels. Being an illegal immigrant, a so-called 'sans papiers', Dieudonné is forced to spend most of his daily life between the four walls of his tiny apartment. He finds pleasure in following the trials and tribulations of the national soccer team, including Congo-born Emile M'Penza. All hell breaks loose when Belgium plays against Sweden. While Justin manages to escape, his father is arrested and sent back to Africa. Justin finds shelter with a retired anarchist and his girlfriend. Together they work out a scheme that is aimed at getting father and son reunited...

An INSAS Brussels graduate, Dominique Standaert entered the industry as assistant producer and director involved in such productions as L'oeuvre au noir, Wait Until Spring Bandini, Toto le héros, Taxandria, Combat de fauves, The Ball and The Imposters. His short Eau (1997) was selected for festivals around the world. Despite Hop's heavy subject matter, the director promises a light, fairytale-like and humorous approach. 'In Africa, humor is usually used as a polite way to express despair,' he explains.

Hop is a 100% Belgian production, shot in Belgium and containing dialogues in both Flemish and French. The film received support from both the French-speaking and Flemish Communities, as well as Wallimage, Promimage, the National Lottery, RTBF, VRT, Canal+ and DGCI. Producers are Thierry De Coster (SOKAN, Wavres), Michel Houdmont (Signature, Brussels) and Dominique Standaert (Executive Productions, Brussels). Benelux distributor is Paradiso Filmed Entertainment.

Hop will also form the subject of a case study as part of the festival's Digiforum this year. Dominique Standaert (director), Michel Houdmont (producer), Remon Fromont (DoP), Stefan Rycken (ACE Digital House) and Christian Branteghem (Sony) will participate.

High-resolution photo material of Hop can be downloaded from the website, after registration.