Girl sweeps Ensor Flemish film awards


The film Girl, about a teenager’s struggles with both gender transition and ballet school, won eight Ensor awards, trashing the competition

De Dag best TV series

Lukas Dhont’s debut feature Girl won eight of the nine Ensor awards for which it was nominated. Aside from the major Best Director, Film and Lead Actor trophies, it won Best Script, Photography, Editing, Music and Production Design.

Girl, the story of a teenager transitioning from male to female while struggling with the demands of ballet school, was the favourite on Saturday night at the Ensors, the ceremony that rewards Flemish movies released from the summer of the previous year to the summer in the awards year. Aside from winning four awards at Cannes, it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and was Belgium’s entry in the Oscar race.

“I’m elated,” Dhont told VRT after the ceremony. “There are 10 of us here tonight from the cast and crew, and we knew that this was the finish line, that we were going to celebrate this film for the last time. The fact that we’re going home with eight Ensors is a gift from this industry. It is just extraordinary.”

The film Niet schieten! (Don’t Shoot!) also had nine nominations going into the ceremony, but won none of them in the face of Girl. The film – Stijn Coninx’s account of one family victimised by the Brabant Killers – did win the Public Prize, however, as well as Best Box Office for selling the most tickets of all local film in the release year.

Film festival moves to January

Ruth Beeckmans, meanwhile, won the Ensor for Lead Actress for the film Trio, in which she plays a classy prostitute hired for a reluctant customer on his birthday. Ademloos (Breathless), Daniel Lambo’s look at the production of asbestos, won Best Documentary. Best Youth Film went to Binti.

The Ensors also awards television productions, with De Dag (The Day) winning Best Series this year. It also won Best Script and Best Director. The series Studio Tarara delivered both the best male and female lead roles: Peter Van den Begin and Janne Desmet.

The Ensor ceremony is part of the Ostend Film Festival, which this year saw a record attendance of some 45,000 people. It wrapped up on Saturday with an announcement: The festival, held in September for all of its 13 years, will move to January. The next edition is January of 2021.

The festival is also launching another award, this time for internet content and games, called the Jamies. Like the title Ensor, the name is dedicated to the master surrealist painter James Ensor, who lived in Ostend for most of his life.

Photo: Girl director Lukas Dhont and co-writer Angelo Tijssens
(c)Courtesy Ostend Film Festival