„King of the Belgians” opens 21st Sofia International Film Festival


"King of the Belgians" is Jessica Woodworth & Peter Brosens' fourth fiction feature; they both are most widely acclaimed for the three feature films they wrote, directed and co-produced together: "Khadak" (Winner of Venice's Lion of the Future 2006), "Altiplano" (Cannes Critics' Week 2009) and "The Fifth Season" (Venice Official Competition 2012).

The creation of this film was provoked by an article in "The Times" describing the experiences of Estonian president - after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano he was forced to travel by car from Istanbul to Tallinn.

"An Icelandic volcano erupted and an idea was born: let's drop a Belgian King in Istanbul, stir up a natural disaster, spark a political crisis and then launch him on a homeward overland journey, incognito, that features trip-ups, show-downs and moments of grace. Displacement as the essence of comedy, in other words, - confide the directors. - The challenge was how to actually tell this tale... To enhance authenticity and spontaneity we often invited the actors to improvise. And we filmed chronologically. The situations become increasingly outrageous but actually remain delightfully believable. The result is KING OF THE BELGIANS, a mockumentary road movie about a wayward monarch profoundly lost in the Balkans."

Main actors are the royal Peter Van den Begin, Titus De Voogdt, Lucie Debay and Bruno Georis. Among other actors are Pieter van der Houwen and Goran Radaković. Valentin Ganev plays the role of Deputy Head of Turkish Security and Nina Nikolina is a Bulgarian folk singer from a small village and wins the heart of the "King of Belgians". The film was shot almost entirely in Bulgaria and the singers in the folklore ensemble, participating in the film, are selected from the most famous Bulgarian choirs - like "Misteriata na bulgarskite glasove / The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices", "Filip Kutev Ensemble" and "Slavey quartet".

Bulgarian co-producers are Mira Staleva and Stefan Kitanov. "Bulgaria's participation in co-productions is a chance for our country to be represented at the most important international film festivals. "King of the Belgians" is a very proof of this - Bulgaria is in Venice." - said Stefan Kitanov on the occasion of the presentation of the film at the oldest film festival in the world in the main competition program "Orizzonti".

"A classic mockumentary blending gently satirical humor with deeper underpinnings, "King of the Belgians" is a delightful, surprisingly respectful ribbing of the incongruity of monarchy, Belgium, and the Balkans, - says Jay Weissberg in his review for "Variety". - Yet “King” is firmly in mockumentary road-trip mode, which means camerawork that appears to be done on the fly (but only appears to be), off-kilter framing, and heaps of supposedly off-the-cuff set-ups. It’s hard to imagine anyone unable to open themselves up to the film’s gentle joshing."

"King of the Belgians" is a production of Bo Films in coproduction with Entre Chien et Loup (Belgium), Topkapi Films (The Netherlands) and Art Fest (Bulgaria). Director of Photography is Ton Peters, Production Designer is Sabia Christova, Costumes - Eka Bichinashvili (Bulgaria), Make up artist is Petia Simeonova, Director of Sound is Michel Schöpping and the editor is David Verdurme. Line producers are Nadejda Koseva & Svetla Tsotsorkova ("Front Film").

The film received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Flanders Image, Netherlands Film Fund, Netherlands Film Production Incentive, Eurimages, Bulgarian National Film Center, Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Screen Flanders, Belgian Federal Government Tax Shelter, Casa Kafka Pictures, Casa Kafka Pictures Movie Tax Shelter empowered by Belfius and the Media Programme of the European Union.

The film's world premiere was at the 73-rd Venice Film Festival. From September 2016 till now the film participated with great success in different programmes of almost 20 festivals around the world, including Bussan, Palm Springs, Sao Paulo, Thessaloniki, Dubai, Tallinn.

The Bulgarian premiere will be at the opening of the 21st Sofia International Film Festival - March 9th 2017, Hall 1 of National Palace of Culture.

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