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Friday, 10 August 2018
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Strolling around Brussels this summer, you may have come across some strange-looking characters: passers-by dressed in 18th-century costumes in the Sablon district, an old-fashioned horse and carriage in Brussels Park, or you may even have seen some famous actors (Dominic West, Lily Collins and David Oyelowo) on the streets of Ixelles, Auderghem or in Cinquantenaire Park.

For the past month, the Belgian capital has served as a backdrop for the BBC series ‘Les Misérables’, co-produced by Brussels-based production company Czar. The Brussels-Capital Region boasts a number of major advantages for hosting such a production: a varied architectural heritage offering a wide range of potential period locations, a central geographic location between London, Paris and Amsterdam providing great flexibility to film crews, and the expertise of film professionals specialised in international co-productions.

“The team working on‘Les Misérables’ is a perfect mix of British and Belgianprofessionals. The trilingual atmosphere has been really great, with good food and Brussels hospitality also playing their part”, explains Eurydice Gysel, producer and manager at Czar. “Our British partners have been delighted in collaborating with Belgian technicians and with the huge variety of potential period locations in such a compact area”, she adds.

The screen.brussels film commission has lent a helping hand to the series, providing hands-on practical assistance for organising shoots (permits, parking, logistics, film locations, etc.). The screen.brussels fund has also provided financial support to the project, to the tune of €200,000. Its goal is to attract audiovisual productions spending budgets within the Brussels-Capital Region, generated through various mechanisms (European, national, local), which provide a boost to Brussels’ audiovisual sector, along with its businesses and professionals.

Converted warehouses

This large-scale production has involved about 350 people, requiring very extensive floor spaces to be made available for set building, studio filming and storing accessories. As well, production crews have moved into the former warehouses of a major children’s clothing and accessories chain, located in north-east Brussels. In addition to the production offices, the warehouses are being used to store an impressive amount of equipment and all kinds of accessories:

  • 850 costumes for extras
  • 200 costumes or actors
  • 150 hats, 200 pairs of shoes
  • 80 wardrobes, 15 beds and 120 chairs (sets)
  • 40 pairs of curtains
  • 1,500 items of tableware
  • 10 bales of hay
  • 40,000 euro’s worth of wood
  • 2,000 litres of paint
  • 10 carts
  • 8 carriages
  • 12 stoves
  • 30 rifles
  • 10 pistols
  • 3 cannons
  • ...

Projets

Locations

  • fund
  • film commission