Directors of movie Black are Brusselaars of the Year

Summary

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have been chosen as Brusselaars of the Year for setting their new film Black in Brussels, bringing a wave of attention to the capital’s inner city areas

Two cinemas refuse to screen film

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, directors of the new gang movie Black, have been named Brusselaars of the Year. The annual award is given to a personality who has attracted attention to Brussels and the Brussels dialect.

Black, which hits cinemas tomorrow, stars Martha Canga Antonio and Aboubakr Bensaihi as young lovers who are part of rival gangs in inner-city Brussels. It is the El Arbi and Fallah’s second film after 2014’s Image, also set in Brussels.

Fallah was born and raised in Vilvoorde, and El Arbi is from Antwerp. The two met while studying film at the Sint-Lukas arts academy in the capital, where both lived during that time – El Arbi in Sint-Joost and Fallah in the Anneessens area.

“Merci Bruxelles,” commented El Arbi on the announcement. “Actually I’m from Antwerp, but in Antwerp they would never choose a Brusselaar as Antwerpenaar of the Year. I feel Belgian and Moroccan, Antwerps and Brussels all at the same time. My brothers were born here, my family is here, so my link with the city is strong. Our films wouldn’t be as cool if they hadn’t been shot in Brussels.”

Despite the award, two cinemas in Brussels are refusing to screen Black, fearing gang violence: Vendôme in Elsene and Le Stockel in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. The film can be seen in Kinepolis at Heizel.

Previous winners of the Brusselaars of the Year award include cycling legend Eddy Merckx and actor Chris Lomme.

Photo, from left: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directors of Black

Flemish cinema

Thanks to a federal tax shelter system, support from the Flemish Audiovisueel Fund and the rise of a new generation of talented filmmakers, Flemish cinema has been riding the crest of a wave since the mid-2000s with distinctly locally flavoured features that have appealed to both crowds and critics.
Loft - With more than one million viewers, Erik Van Looy’s Loft was the most successful movie ever made in Flanders.
Bullhead - In 2012, Michaël R Roskam’s directorial debut Rundskop (Bullhead) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
Names - Well-known current Flemish directors include Erik Van Looy, Jan Verheyen, Michaël R Roskam, Fien Troch and Felix Van Groeningen.
1

in 5 movie tickets sold in Flanders is to see a Flemish movie

226

international festival nominations or prizes in 2012

1 462 160

people went to see a Flemish (co)production in Belgium in 2012