ONE | SPRING 2014
KLAÏ ON KETNET WHAT IS TELIDJA LOOKING FOR WHEN SCOUTING FOR KIDS CONTENT?
GET A GRID WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA BEHIND GRID'S EXPANSION INTO ANIMATION?
CORDON BLEU ONE SERIES, TEN STORYLINES, FORTY CHARACTERS
HOW DO YOU COME TO BE WORKING FOR KETNET? I have a PhD in developmental psychology. I taught at university and also coordinated the programme on sexual health for young people and children at Sensoa, the Flemish centre of expertise in sexual health. In 2003 I did some consulting on Ketnet’s strategy for children, then Ketnet asked me to do a couple of assignments a year. In 2008, when I was getting into my forties, I thought about the next stage of my life and decided to leave the university and Sensoa and apply for a job at Ketnet. Now, I’m responsible for all programme acquisitions at Ketnet, I oversee animation co-productions, and I’m the channel’s expert on developmental psychology.
WHAT KIND OF CHANNEL IS KETNET? We air every day, from six in the morning to eight in the evening. We try to reach as many kids as possible, with programmes suitable up to 12 years of age. It is a channel for and with children, so the participation of children is very high. It’s a channel where heroes have a real place, and the heroes are the children’s friends. And Ketnet should be an experience rather than just a channel. Ketnet can be everywhere you want it to be.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL KETNET PROGRAMME? There is no ideal programme, because our target group is very IYVHK HUK KPMMLYLU[ WYVNYHTTLZ OH]L [V KV KPMMLYLU[ ZWLJPÄJ things. For me, programming is making a beautiful day for a JOPSK0[»ZUV[HIV\[SVVRPUNH[[OL[PTPUNHUKÄ[[PUNZVTL[OPUN PU:V[OLÄYZ[[OPUN0SVVRH[PZ[OLJVU[LU[
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING?
KETNET’S TELIDJA KLAÏ TALKS ABOUT WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FOR WHEN SCOUTING FOR CONTENT FOR VRT’S DEDICATED KIDS CHANNEL, AND WHAT THE TRENDS ARE IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING. TEXT IAN MUNDELL PORTRAIT BART DEWAELE
There are a lot of programmes on the international market and it’s very easy to say what is not suitable for Ketnet. Programmes that are too aggressive, for example. Then there are gems, which are also easy to spot. For everything in between, we look to see if the Ketnet values are integrated, and if developmental level of the content is suitable for the target group. If there are any doubts we ask the children themselves. I have three schools where I can do focus groups. The children and I watch the programme and we have a focus discussion afterwards.
WHERE DO CO-PRODUCTIONS FIT IN? Speaking of animation, we only co-produce if there is a Flemish studio involved. There are so many studios here doing so many good things that we have to divide up our money in order to support as many projects as possible. Even if we only give a little bit, it helps them create a concept and to go further.
WHAT TRENDS DO YOU SEE IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING? There is a lot of pre-school programming on the market, but I don’t think demand from channels is driving that. Pre-schoolers like repetition, so we don’t need hundreds of series. But television is in crisis and people need to earn their money from other sources, such as merchandising, which works better with pre-school than with older children.
Meanwhile the number of Asian productions is growing fast. Before they would come to the European market through a European studio or co-producer, but now Asian producers are selling programmes themselves. Looking at content, we’ve had African themes, we’ve had animals, we’ve had zombies and witches, and now there is a lot of adventure and action on the market.
Telidja’s Flemish Favourites
AND FOR THE FUTURE?
KetnetKingSize Ketnet’s live show on weekend mornings produced by VRT. ‘A show based on participation of kids bringing children, hosts and other heroes together.’
Competition is growing, with more channels and more themed channels. That will change the market. Then the way of looking at programmes will change. With new technologies, such as mobile and on-demand, I don’t know what will happen with linear programmed channels in 10 years from now. L
KETNET’S PRIME STRATEGIC VALUES
NEXT TO SOME SECONDARY CONTENT VALUES
For and by children Heroes 360°
Adventurous Among friends Fantastic Real Humour Safe
Karrewiet Ketnet’s daily news programme for children. ‘Every day I’m amazed by how they manage to rethink the news for the child’s level.’
Heroes Four young ‘heroes’ invent challenges for each other. Produced by Ketnet and Hotel Hungaria. ‘It’s very funny, and very well-made.’ Dimitri A small bird discovers Africa for himself after being left behind in the migration. Produced by Beast Animation and Vivement Lundi. ‘It’s such high quality and so beautiful. And I have a weakness for stop-motion.’ Zingaburia A musical series in which the crew of the spaceship Zingaburia search for the holiday planet Azifrikameuropa. Produced by Bonka Circus. ‘It’s so weird and absurd, but really funny.’
GRID GETS ANIMATED TEXT IAN MUNDELL
PORTRAIT BART DEWAELE
WHEN JAN GOOSSEN WROTE IN GRID'S BUSINESS PLAN THAT THE COMPANY AIMED TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ANIMATION PRODUCER, HE WAS THINKING OF THE LONG TERM. 'I CERTAINLY DIDN'T EXPECT, THREE YEARS LATER, TO WIN A PRIZE FOR IT. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO AMBITIOUS,' HE SAYS. YET IN SEPTEMBER LAST YEAR JAN GOOSSEN AND MARK MERTENS WERE ON STAGE AT THE PRESTIGIOUS CARTOON FORUM IN TOULOUSE HAVING BEEN NAMED EUROPEAN ANIMATION PRODUCER OF THE YEAR.
‘That helps convince me that we are on the right track,’ he goes on. ‘But winning the prize is one thing. Delivering, and making sure we can be the kind of producer that everyone thinks is worth that prize, that’s the challenge now.’ Grid was founded in 1995 by Frank De Wulf and Luc Van Driessche as a company devoted to CGI computer-generated imagery. Initially focused on the advertising industry, it later expanded under Goossen’s guidance into effects for live action and other aspects of post-production. But the core business in commercials was hit hard by the contraction in the global industry that followed the events of 9-11. ‘Then with the euro and dollar crisis, it became very hard for Grid to survive,’ says Goossen.
volume is key ;OLPKLHVMÄNO[PUNIHJRI`TV]PUNPU[VHUPTH[PVU^HZWHY[S` inspired by the positive experience of working on Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville. ‘While it is a classical, OHUKKYH^UHUPTH[LKMLH[\YLÄST^LKPKH*.0WVY[PVU[OH[ had to look like the hand drawings,’ he explains. But rather than simply seeking out more work of this kind, Goossen decided to go further. ‘By becoming an animation producer we were able to make sure that we have the volume of work under control. We are not dependent any more on ÄUKPUNHUHUPTH[PVUWYVK\JLY[OH[PZ^PSSPUN[V^VYR^P[O\Z» Volume is key, since it allows the studio to keep its talented creatives and technicians busy. Now with a staff of around 65 people, the company covers the whole pipeline, MYVT WYVK\JPUN HUK ÄUHUJPUN [V JVUJLW[ HUK JOHYHJ[LY development, script and storyboard, all the way through to post-production and delivery. This does not mean that Grid works alone. Animation in Europe is by nature a collaborative business, and the company has built up a network of relationships, both with other producers such as Skyline, Belvision and AT-Animation in Belgium, or Planet Nemo in France, and with other studios, such as Fabrique d’Images in Luxembourg, Studio Rakete in Germany and Mikros Image in France. ‘The way we see this is that each of these studios that is in the loop comes forward with one of their productions, but then also steps in on one of the others. And that’s how we try to build relationships that are more long term.’ -VY L_HTWSL ^P[O [OL MLH[\YL ÄST Asterix: The Land of the Gods the lead producers are M6 in France and Belvision, with Grid and Belvision’s Dreamwall studio collaborating on the production work. ‘We are acting as one studio, where Grid takes technical and line production responsibility for the two studios to work together,’ Goossen explains. ‘We’ve done all the modelling of the set and now we’re animating. A substantial portion, around 55 per cent of the whole animation, will be done in Belgium.’
traditional thrills For the productions it brings forward, Grid prefers mainstream entertainment with an emphasis on the
imagination, in particular when it draws on creative special effects. ‘But we are not an edgy producer,’ Goossen says. ‘This is probably not in our nature, and I think we need to be honest about that.’ Both he and Grid Animation co-founder Mark Mertens have a love of classic adventure comics. With Goossen it is the Viking fantasy of Thorgal while for Mertens it is Luke and Lucy, which he turned into an animated feature for Skyline Entertainment, Luke and Lucy & the Texas Rangers. The younger generation of talents working for Grid also like traditional thrills, although their references are different. ‘They all love Transformers and Star Wars and these kinds of things, but we also have artists with other tastes and we try to adapt ourselves to that.’ The company is staffed by a mix of people with long experience in the business and more recent arrivals. ‘You need to have young people who are eager to learn and who come in with fresh ideas, and you have to have senior staff who know how to build a pipeline.’
What's The Big Idea
THINK BIG What's The Big Idea is an animated series for pre-school kids that asks the big questions: Who am I? What is a friend? Why do people feel sad? Why do I ask questions? ,HJOÄ]LTPU\[LLWPZVKLILNPUZ^P[O/\NVHZRPUNHUL^X\LZ[PVU As he explores the topic through playful situations, a boy and a girl off-screen discuss what is happening, encouraging kids to be curious and think for themselves. Planet Nemo, which devised the series for the BBC's pre-school channel CBeebies, asked Grid to develop Hugo's 3D animated look, which in turn informs the appearance of the other human characters in the series. Grid also came on board as executive producer, with its long-time partner Skyline Entertainment acting as series co-producer. VAF provided support through its Media Fund.
in-house magicians Alongside this new-found interest in animation, Grid is maintaining P[ZHK]LY[PZPUNI\ZPULZZLZ[HISPZOPUNHUVMĂ„JLPU)Y\ZZLSZ[V[HRL this forward, and also its work in visual effects for live action Ă„STZ *\YYLU[ WYVQLJ[Z PUJS\KL [OL ;= ZLYPLZ In Flanders Fields HUK[OLĂ„STWiplala, based on the childrenâ€™s book by Annie M.G. Schmidt. With the international effects business still in turmoil, expanding the company has allowed Goossen to keep talented effects people on staff. â€˜At least we can have some of these magicians in-house, and have them on so many different things that they stay happy in what they are doing and are not sitting and waiting for the next production.â€™ For the future, Goossen wants to build on the qualities that helped Grid win its award at Cartoon Forum. â€˜I think it is the way we position ourselves relative to other producers, and how we [Y`[VĂ…L_PIS`HKHW[^OH[PZULLKLKMVYHJVWYVK\J[PVU[V^VYRÂť he says. He also knows that Grid owes much of its international appeal to the support animation in Belgium receives from Screen Flanders, its French-speaking counterpart Wallimage and the federal Tax Shelter. â€˜Iâ€™m very aware that our business model is focused on an industry that can only survive with government help,â€™ he says. â€˜And we are doing our utmost at the moment to Ă„UK[OH[WYVQLJ[[OH[JHUSPM[\ZV\[VM[OPZWVZP[PVU^OLYL^LYLHSS` need to have government aid.â€™ L
GRIDâ€™S ANIMATION PIPELINE Asterix: The Land of the GodsMLH[\YLĂ„ST Julius Caesar tries to defeat the indomitable Gauls by tempting them with the luxuries of Roman civilisation. Production M6, Belvision, Grid Animation ChessMLH[\YLĂ„ST A pawn from a hand-carved chess set leads an uprising against the computers taking over the game. Directed by Frank De Wulf, and to be presented at Cartoon Forum 2014. Production Grid Animation Klincus Bark ZOVY[SLHKPUN[VH;=ZLYPLZ Ten-year-old Klincus is the only full-sized human in contact with a community of miniature people living in the Great Forest. Production Grid Animation, other partners Little Luke and LucyZOVY[SLHKPUN[VH;=ZLYPLZ ;OLHK]LU[\YLZVM3\RLHUK3\J`HRH:\ZRLHUK>PZRLHZ six-year-olds, from the comic strips by Willy Vandersteen. Production Grid Animation Ooops! Noah is goneâ€ŚMLH[\YLĂ„ST What happened to all the weird animals who missed the boat when Noah set sail on the Flood? Production Grid Animation, Skyline Entertainment, Ulysses Filmproduktion, Magma Films, Fabrique dâ€™Images
Little Luke and Lucy
Percy Tiger TalesZLJVUK;=ZLYPLZ Percy and his friends have amazing adventures in imaginary worlds. Production Skyline Entertainment, Fabrique dâ€™Images, Grid Animation The Scrameustache;=ZLYPLZ The adventures of Scrameustache, a cat-like alien from the planet Aktarka and his best friend Khena. Production AT-Anim, Grid Animation, other partners
Ooops! Noah is goneâ€Ś
Percy Tiger Tales
Victor VeggiesteinZOVY[SLHKPUN[VHMLH[\YLĂ„ST A young inventor left alone for the holidays brings vegetables to life in his basement. Production Grid Animation, AT-Anim, other partners Ziggy and the Zoo Tram;=ZLYPLZ At a small zoo in a big city, the animals go home every night, taking a special tram to their habitats. And commuting can be an adventure. Production Skyline Entertainment, Grid Animation, Fabrique dâ€™Images
GOING VIRAL TEXT IAN MUNDELL
PORTRAIT BART DEWAELE
SOMETHING SINISTER IS HAPPENING IN DOWNTOWN ANTWERP. A CORDON HAS BEEN PUT UP AROUND A SECTION OF THE CITY, ISOLATING AROUND 5,000 PEOPLE. SOME OF THEM LIVE IN THE AREA, WHILE OTHERS WORK THERE OR WERE SIMPLY PASSING
TRAPPED. 'IN THE BEGINNING IT'S FOR 48 HOURS, FOR SAFETY'S SAKE, BUT POLITICAL WHEELS ARE TURNING AND BEFORE THE PEOPLE INSIDE KNOW IT, THE 48 HOURS BECOME INDEFINITE,' SAYS SCREENWRITER CARL JOOS, WHO HAS CREATED THIS FRIGHTENING SITUATION FOR THE TV SERIES CORDON. PRODUCED BY EYEWORKS, THE SERIES AIRS THIS SPRING ON FLEMISH COMMERCIAL BROADCASTER VTM.
The series weaves together 10 storylines, involving more than 40 characters, all of whom have to adjust to life inside the cordon as the emergency unfolds over the course of a month. ‘A few characters are outside, but not too many,’ Joos explains. ‘We wanted to focus on people on the inside who know absolutely nothing about what is happening.’ +LZWP[L OH]PUN SVUN L_WLYPLUJL PU ÄST HUK ;= MYVT Memory of a Killer to The Spiral[OPZPZ[OLÄYZ[[PTL1VVZ has created a series from scratch. ‘In other series I’ve come up with story ideas, but not the entire universe with HJVUZ[LSSH[PVUVMJOHYHJ[LYZZV[OPZPZHÄYZ[MVYTL» Part of his inspiration came from reading about the threat posed by viruses, part from seeing what happened when contamination threatened the water supply in his own community. Cars patrolled the village streets, announcing on loudspeakers that the water was not safe to drink, and people rushed out to secure supplies.
‘In the supermarket, when it came to buying more water, the thin enamel of civilisation was gone very quickly,’ Joos recalls. There was contradictory information about whether the contamination was a virus, bacteria or chemicals. ‘It took seven days to sort out.’ The scenario he went on to develop for Cordon imagines a crisis in an area of Antwerp that contains the Institute for Tropical Medicine, an actual research centre which works with many dangerous viruses. When he went along to discuss his idea with the institute’s staff, he showed them a map of where he thought a cordon would go up in the case of an emergency. ‘They said: “What you have drawn here is our worst nightmare. We’ve been talking about this for two years now, because we are in the city centre.” And a lot of the borders I had drawn in were the borders they were talking about if an event occurs.’
All stills Cordon
semi-documentary style Cordon PZ HSZV H ÄYZ[ MVY ;PT 4PLSHU[Z ^OV J\[ OPZ [LL[O directing episodes of the cop show Code 37, but has not had a whole series to himself until now. ‘I read the treatment, and it was wonderful, and the script was better still,’ he says. ‘It was like being given the keys of a very good car to drive.’ He was attracted by the characters and the stress the situation would put them under. ‘I thought it would be wonderful to work with actors on this kind of emotion,’ he says. ‘I like the characters who are like a gift: you don’t know yet what’s inside, and you have to open them very carefully to see what they are about.’ Visually he took his cues from the realism of the scenario. ‘We chose a semi-documentary style, on the shoulder, so that the camera is amongst the people.’ His references were hijack drama United 93 by Paul Greengrass and, to a lesser extent, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. ‘It’s very subtle, and I wanted to use that as a reference for the shooting.’ In contrast, Joos made a conscious decision to avoid :VKLYILYNO»Z ÄST HUK HU`[OPUN LSZL [OH[ TPNO[ W\[ OPZ story over the edge. ‘From the outset I refused to focus on anything involving armageddon or the apocalypse,’ he says. ‘I really wanted to stay in this bubble of my street and what would happen to my neighbours in this situation.’
'I read the treatment, and it was wonderful, and the script was better still,' he says. 'It was like being given the keys of a very good car to drive'
For Mielants, the main challenge of the shoot was not the large number of characters or the interlocking storylines, but how to YLWYLZLU[[OL[OYLH[Âş;OLĂ„YZ[[OPUN0^HZ^VYYPLKHIV\[NL[[PUN right was the disease itself. How to make it seem real, how to make people afraid of it and get some emotion across to the viewer.â€™
All stills Cordon
On a practical level, the production also had to contend with the schedules of a lot of very busy actors. â€˜Basically we got all the people we wanted,â€™ Joos says. â€˜We got very good actors for very small roles, both the big names and some discoveries.â€™ Notable cast members include Wouter Hendrickx (The Verdict, The Misfortunates2VLU+L)V\^The Verdict, Dossier K.HUK Geert Van Rampelberg (The Treatment, Hotel Swooni;OLU[OLYL is Veerle Baetens, who appears as a teacher who gets caught up in the zone along with the children in her class. This role is somewhat different from the tattoo artist Elise she played in The Broken Circle Breakdown, or the lawyer in The Verdict, or the cop in Code 37, where Mielants worked with her previously. â€˜Veerle is incredibly professional in searching for the character,â€™ he says. â€˜She does a lot of research and goes very deep into it. I think thatâ€™s the reason she is always so different.â€™ Discoveries include Liesa Van der Aa, until now better known in Flanders as a singer, and MaitĂŠ Foucher â€˜Sheâ€™s the next Veerle Baetens,â€™ Mielants enthuses. â€˜Sheâ€™s disarming, charming and in your face. Sheâ€™s amazing.â€™ And among the children, there are roles for Bent Simons from Kid and Jelte Blommaert from Allez, Eddy!.
TV IN FLANDERS Flanders is experiencing a boom in TV drama, with series such as Clan, Cordon, and In Flanders Fields all breaking new ground for local broadcasters. For Peter Bouckaert, producer and managing director at Eyeworks Belgium, this goes hand-in-hand with the recent rise of Flemish cinema. ‘The quality of our television series has risen because we work with people who have cinema skills,’ he says. ([[OLZHTL[PTL[OLHIPSP[`[V^VYRPU;=NP]LZÄSTTHRLYZJHYLLYJVU[PU\P[`HUKNYLH[LYL_WLYPLUJLº0U[LSL]PZPVU the budgets are lower, you need to be faster, and you are problem solving all the time. When they come back to ÄST[OH[WH`ZVMM» 1VVZHSZVH[[YPI\[LZ[OLYPZLPUX\HSP[`[VNYLH[LYJVU[PU\P[`º,ZWLJPHSS`PUMLH[\YLÄSTZI\[HSZVPU;=ZLYPLZ^L»]L SVZ[NLULYH[PVUZVMKPYLJ[VYZ^OVJHTLV\[VMÄSTZJOVVSTHKLVULÄSTHUK[OLUOHK[V^HP[ZP_`LHYZILMVYL[OL` could make another. And the same goes for a lot of crew.’ If there is a downside, it is that broadcasters have become conservative as they have expanded. ‘With rising production, the pressure has also risen to come up with successes,’ Joos says. ‘And I think there is a very strong tendency to copy successful formulas from either America or Scandinavia. I’m not saying that producers are succumbing to that, but the pressure is there.’ Mielants sees the smaller broadcasters as a useful antidote to this tendency. ‘Small broadcasters like 8 are letting young talents play with the tools of the series, to experiment and push boundaries,’ he says. ‘I did a little series for them called Super 8, experimented with a lot of things, and was able to bring that experience to Code 37.’
what’s next? The city of Antwerp also plays a prominent part, with the river Scheldt forming one part of the cordon. For others, the production closed off streets with stacks of shipping containers. ‘I wondered how people would react to us blocking their streets for a week, but it went extremely well,’ Mielants recalls. ‘Children were playing everywhere, and people asked us to stay because everyone was having a fantastic time and the neighbourhood was coming back together.’ The Institute for Tropical Medicine was an active participant, L]LU[OV\NO[OLZJLUHYPVW\[ZP[ZÄJ[PVUHSJV\U[LYWHY[H[[OL heart of the crisis. It helped Joos in his research and allowed ZJLULZ[VILÄSTLKVUP[ZWYLTPZLZº)\[^LJV\SKU»[ZOVV[ in the laboratories, which I understood completely,’ says
Mielants. ‘They are working with Ebola and HIV in there.’ After a busy year with Cordon, Mielants has had little time to think of what he will do next. He has a screenplay on the back-burner, but has now been converted to the possibilities of long-form drama. ‘With a series you can get much more KLW[OPU[VJOHYHJ[LYZ0[»ZL_[YLTLS`KPMÄJ\S[[VKV[OH[PU minutes, so if I get another opportunity to do something like this I’ll take it immediately.’ Meanwhile Joos will be in cinemas this spring with his adaptation of Mo Hayder’s The Treatment, directed by Hans Herbots, and on TV as one of the co-writers of WWI miniseries In Flanders Fields. He is currently working on the screenplay for Double Face, the third big screen outing for detectives Vincke and Verstuyft after Memory of a Killer and Dossier K. L
TAKE 28 | Spring 2014 | € 3.99 Cover Lize Feryn by Bart Dewaele CREDITS Editor Christian De Schutter Deputy Editor + Art Direction Nathalie Capiau Sub Editors John Adair, An Ratinckx Contributors Iain Blair, Ian Mundell, Peter Van Goethem, Boyd Van Hoeij, Henry Womersley Design Karin Pays Photo credits P 6-7 Bart Dewaele, P 14-15 Nyk Dekeyser, P 22-23 Kris De Witte All other stills copyrighted by the respective producers Print Wilda NV Translations to French by Miles Translations, Tongues Untied Translations Subscriptions By post: € 10 / year (three issues) 0UMV!ÅHUKLYZPTHNL']HMIL This magazine is also available for free via the App Store, and can be consulted on issuu.com More news and features on www.flandersimage.com Published by Flanders Image/VAF Flanders Film House Bischoffsheimlaan 38 B-1000 Brussels Belgium/EU T: +32-2-226 0630 F: +32-2-219 1936 ,!ÅHUKLYZPTHNL']HMIL ^^^ÅHUKLYZPTHNLJVT
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