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Eight awards in two days for Belgium’s French-language feature, short and animated films.

On Sunday, the 15th of June, the Dardenne brothers won the very prestigious Sydney Film Prize while, in Cabourg, Pas son genre/Not my type completed a hat-trick.

"For its masterfully elegant storytelling, its dedication to a fiercely humanistic, super-realist worldview, its brave, essential commitment to community solidarity, and its celebration of a woman’s power and vitality, we are delighted to present the Sydney Film Prize to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes’ Two days, one night," were the words of Jury President Rachel Perkins as she brought the Sydney Film Festival to a close.

With a very limited selection of 12 films in competition, this prestigious accolade portends a very successful festival season for the Dardenne brothers’ film. In previous years, the festival has awarded the prize to films such as Only God forgives (2013), Alps (2012) and A Separation (2011).

Over the same weekend, at the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival, where love is always in the air, two Belgian films came away with a fine haul of prizes. Pas son genre/Not his style by Lucas Belvaux (38 témoins/One night) was awarded the Swann d'or for best film, best actress (Emilie Dequenne) and Best Actor (Loïc Corbery). The Swann d’or are donated by the Monnaie de Paris, the Direction of Coins and Medals, the festival’s partners.

The jury also honoured a Belgian short film: Solo Rex. Produced by Hélicotronc and directed by François Bierry, it left Cabourg with the prize for Best Actor (Wim Willaert) and Best Cinematography (Fiona Braillon) in the short film category. Finally, another film supported by the Film and Audiovisual Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Marina, by Stijn Coninx was the recipient of the young film-maker prize.

The last piece of good news this weekend comes from Annecy and its festival of animated film, a European reference in the field. The Jury Award for a TV Special went to the short film Le parfum de la carotte by Rémi Durin and Arnaud Demuynck, a Belgian film (La Boite ... production) co-produced with France and Switzerland. The 26-minute film tells through the medium of song the story of Rabbit and Squirrel, who are good neighbours and friends, both of whom love food and good company, but who nevertheless quarrel over their different tastes. French actress Agnès Jaoui lends her voice to this short film that is attracting good audiences to cinemas in French-speaking countries.

Loïc Corbery, Emilie Dequenne and Lucas belvaux. Crédit: Festival de Cabourg
Fiona Braillon. Crédit Photo: Festival de Cabourg