Call for Submissions: Directory of World Cinema: Belgium

Directory of World Cinema: Belgium
Editors: Jeremi Szaniawski and Marcelline Block

Despite being one of Europe’s smallest countries, divided amongst three linguistic communities and without a genuine film industry of its own, Belgium has, against all the odds, managed to produce some of the most interesting and unheralded films of the second half of the 20th century. After the founding works of precursors Henri Storck and Charles De Keukeleire, filmmakers such as Chantal Akerman, André Delvaux, Stijn Coninx, the Dardenne Brothers, Jaco Van Dormael, Gérard Corbiau, Felix Van Groeningen and others, have put Belgium on the map through prestigious film festivals and ignited the imagination of critics and cinephiles around the world. In the meantime, the small but dynamic Flemish film market has produced films such as ‘The Alzheimer Case’ and ‘Loft’ that compete with much bigger budget productions. Belgian cinema has developed in a vibrant cultural atmosphere that includes socialism (Emile Vandervelde), symbolism (Maeterlinck), Art Nouveau architecture (Horta), surrealism (Magritte, Broodthaers), comic strips (‘Tintin’ and the Marcinelle school), as well as cinephilia itself (the Royal Film Archive possesses one of the world’s largest collections) --but also its problematic colonial heritage and complex relationship with its neighbors. The relative lack of unity at the level of government funding and minimal budgets could have proved the expensive medium’s undoing, but instead it often goaded the filmmakers into creative, poetic and experimental approaches.

As the country experiences the worst political crisis of its history, we investigate the identity of Belgian cinema through its various components: Flemish and Walloon; the cinema of its numerous minorities; fiction filmmaking; and its vibrant (and celebrated) documentary school, in order to showcase it in all its diversity.

We invite contributions to the upcoming issue of the Directory of World Cinema: Belgium in a variety of formats, including

-650 word reviews of films (from the inception of Belgian cinema to the present day)
-1500-2000 word essays about a particular filmmaker’s oeuvre, a topical issue relating cinema to Belgian culture and history, or a genre
-1500-2000 word entries such as critical biographies, interviews, memoirs or excerpts of production diaries by filmmakers, etc

For inquiries, please contact
Initial deadline: June 1st, 2011

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