09 20 Oct '24

'Close'-producer Dirk Impens wins Knack Focus' Jo Röpcke Award 2022 during FFG2022

Dirk Impens Ropcke
News 15 Oct 2022
Film producer Dirk Impens is this year's laureate of the Jo Röpcke Award, named after the former BRT film journalist. The magazine Knack Focus presents this annually during Film Fest Ghent to "someone who has made himself deserving for Flemish film".

Impens, who turns 65 next month and bids farewell to the profession, wins the award as producer of Lukas Dhont's second, acclaimed feature film Close. Which received the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is the Belgian Oscar entry, opened the 49th edition of Film Fest Gent and will be released in Belgian cinemas on 2 November.

Previously, Dirk Impens produced Lukas Dhont's successful debut Girl, plus the first five films by Felix van Groeningen, including De Helaasheid der dingen and The Broken Circle Breakdown. Before that, he also worked with Stijn Coninx (Daens), Jan Verheyen (Team Spirit), Robbe De Hert (Brylcream Boulevard) and Frank Van Passel (Manneken Pis, Terug naar Oosterdonk).

"Over the past 30 years - from Daens, over Manneken Pis to Steve + Sky and Close - Dirk Impens has helped lift Flemish film to an international level," says Dave Mestdach, film critic of Knack Focus. "Moreover, he has always had an eye for new talent. You can safely call him the mentor of two of the greatest Flemish directing talents of this century: Felix van Groeningen and Lukas Dhont. With Close, Impens ends a successful career on an absolute high."

"I am proud and grateful to receive the award," Impens reacts. "Especially since I am the first producer on the record, which includes very nice names. I have always considered myself a boutique producer who did not want to overdo it, and wanted to deliver good quality, but for a wide audience. After all, culture is too important not to be shared with others."

The prize - a cartoon by Knack Focus' resident artist Karl Meersman - was received at the 49th Film Fest Ghent on Saturday 15 October by Michiel Dhont, brother of Lukas, co-producer of Close and successor of Impens.

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