CZAR FILM & TV
Managing Partner & Executive Producer
CZAR FILM & TV is the fiction department of the international acclaimed production company CZAR.BE and is managed by producer Eurydice Gysel and producer/director Koen Mortier. They produce and co-produce feature films, as well as high-quality shorts, television series and documentaries. The department focuses on author driven and visual films with the emphasis on innovation within an international and European frame and network. Therefore, their goal is to create a platform for defiant directors and to export Belgian talent.
Recent feature films are ‘Angel’ (Koen Mortier), ‘Coureur’ (Kenneth Mercken), ‘Waste Land’ (Pieter van Hees), ‘Rookie’ (Lieven van Baelen) and ‘Nr. 10’ (Alex Van Warmerdam). They are also active as an international co-producer for Alex van Warmerdam and the BBC-series ‘The White Queen’, the 3 seasons of ‘The Missing’ and ‘Les Misérables’. Also, currently in post-production, ‘Skunk’ (based on a novel by Geert Taghon) and the 11-part Netflix-documentary TV-series ‘Voices of Liberation’ both by Koen Mortier.
Next to that we develop ‘Waarom Wettelen (The Weeping Walk)’ (first feature film by Dimitri Verhulst), ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ (Morgan Knibbe) together with Baldr Film, WOLF, the first feature animation film by Raf Wathion, the documentary ‘La Gorgona’ by Frederik Jan Depickere and the TV series EUROPA (written by Jean Baptiste Delafon) together with True Content entertainment and About Premium Content.
VOICES OF LIBERATION 2022
Director: Koen Mortier
Writer: Koen Mortier
Co-producer: Interstellar Pictures / NL Film
‘Voices of Liberation’ is an 11-part documentary series about the international commemoration route which joins together the important milestones of the Second World War. The route forms a chain between the most important regions during the advance of the western allies. The series guides us along this route accompanied by local hosts who each one of them have a link with the Second World War. Along the actual facts told through the use of personal documents (letters, diaries, memoirs, …) they also tell us their personal stories, which offers the public an alternative view of the events. In addition, this television series does not only focus on the story of ‘the Allied liberator’, but also on that of ‘the civilian’, ‘the resistance fighter’, ‘the collaborator’ and even ‘the enemy’. Therefore, ‘Voices of Liberation’ wants to find a balance with this angle by giving a voice to all people, from different angles and with different backgrounds, which will give us insights into the minds of the people who lived, fought and in the best case, survived the Second World War.
Format: Feature film
Director: Lieven Van Baelen
Screenplay: Charlie Brafman, Magnus McCullagh, Lieven Van Baelen
Cast: Matteo Simoni, Veerle Baetens, Valentijn Braeckman, Stefaan Degand, Tibo Vandenborre, Bjarne Devolder
Rookie follows the story of Nicky (Matteo Simoni), a young ambitious and confident pure-blooded motorcyclist. He always puts his life on the line while racing, not for the money but for kicks, respect and fame. When he gets into an accident, his world crumbles apart, not sure whether he’ll ever be able to race again. He has trouble accepting this new life and turns to his sister-in-law Vero (Veerle Baetens) and her son Charlie (Valentijn Braeckman) to start over. But the adrenaline junkie inside him rears his ugly head and Nicky tries to relive his dream by coaching his nephew Charlie. It quickly becomes clear though that they’re not cut from the same cloth.
Format: Feature film
Director: Koen Mortier
Screenplay: Koen Mortier
Cast: Vincent Rottiers, Fatou N'Diaye, Paul Bartel, Aïcha Cissé
ANGEL follows the encounter of a prostitute, Fae, and a world-famous athlete, Thierry. During his vacation in Senegal, he falls head over heels for the African beauty. They find dignity and hope with each other in order to get out of their troublesome situations.
But more important than these mutual desires, they found love. Until, later in the evening, Thierry starts behaving strangely, under the influence of substances. Fae is forced to leave him but when she discovers that Thierry has passed away the next morning, she's arrested despite her innocence. To move on with her life, she must return to the place where it all started.
Director Koen Mortier wanted to portray the world, dreams and fears of Fae and the story of what she goes through meeting the world class cyclist. In a way they lead similar lives: both have to give the best of themselves and their bodies to delight fans or clients. 'Angel' is based on the acclaimed novel Monologue of Someone Accustomed to Talking to Herself by renowned Belgian author Dimitri Verhulst (The Misfortunates).
Toronto International Film Festival, Filmfestival Oostende, Film by the Sea, Nederlands Film Festival, Parool Film Fest,Warsaw Film Festival, Leiden International Film Festival, Pöff - Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, AFI European Union Film Showcase, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival
Format: Feature film
Director: Kenneth Mercken
Screenplay: Kenneth Mercken, Monica Stan
Cast: Niels Willaerts, Koen De Graeve, Karlijn Sileghem, Fortunato Cerlino, Nicola Rignanese
‘COUREUR’ follows the struggles, glory and dreams of a young 'flandrien' cyclist who will do whatever it takes to succeed, no matter the consequences for himself and those around him.
Felix Vereecke grows up as an insider at his father’s veteran league cycling races, an outlandish milieu with no shortage of alcohol, violence, and prohibited substances. He wants to become a pro no matter what, like his father Mathieu, who seeks to fulfil his own failed dreams of cycling glory. As an adult, Felix turns out to be incredibly gifted. When he becomes national junior champion, he follows his own path towards the promised land of youth cycling: Italy. The merciless competition and his feeble health, however, threaten to become his downfall.
‘Coureur’ is inspired by director Kenneth Mercken’s own turbulent past as a talented cyclist. Kenneth also grew up among the frames and the smell of leg cream. But it took a while before he really got serious about cycling. In 2000, he won the national championship for elite riders without a contract. Later, while on the payroll of an Italian team, he discovered that his body couldn’t cope with all the hardships of the sport and the sacrifices he had to make in order to reach his goal. He turned his back on his childhood dream and enrolled in film school. The script for 'Coureur' was selected for Binger Writers Lab, Script & Pitch TorinoFilmLab, the coproductionplatform of Les Arcs, and Kenneth Mercken received the Emerging Talent Award in 2014 at the When East Meets West. The project also won the Pitch Perfect Award at Flanders Next 2016.
Film Fest Gent, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Göteborg Film Festival, Festival International du Film de Mons, Sport Film Festival Rotterdam
LES MISERABLES 2018
Genre: Drama / History / Romance
Director: Tom Shankland
Screenplay: Andrew Davies
Cast: Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins
Television adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel which follows Jean Valjean as he evades capture by the unyielding Inspector Javert. Set against a backdrop of post-Napoleonic France as unrest begins to grip the city of Paris once more.
Genre: Crime / Drama / Thriller
Director: Jan Matthys & Börkur Sigþórsson
Screenplay: Jack & Harry Williams
Cast: Tchéky Karyo, Tom Hollander & Talisa Garcia
Julien Baptiste is staying in Amsterdam where his daughter has recently had a child. Forever under their feet and restless he is invited to meet up with an old flame, Martha Horchner, chief of police in Amsterdam. But this isn’t a lunch to catch up on old times, she wants his help to find a missing girl, Natalie, the niece of an Englishman, Edward Stratton. She believes the case is connected to a Romanian sex trafficking gang. It’s vital that they find her.
Julien meets up with Edward and they begin their search but it’s not long before Julien realises that all is not as it seems. Why does nobody want to talk about the missing girl? Who is the man following Celia, Julien’s wife? What is the connection between the case and the transsexual brothel where the owner has sent someone to follow them? Who is the mysterious woman, Kim Vogel, who helps the sex industry girls and tells them that Natalie has run away to Germany? As Julien starts to uncover some of the truths behind the lies, he realises there is more to this case than meets the eye. By the time Baptiste becomes aware of the danger that he has been drawn into, Julien’s own family is in danger and Julien is caught in a trap.
Baptiste is a nail-biting ride full of twists and turns where nothing is as it seems.
World premiere at Toronto IFF