1 SCREENINGS GRANDE HOTEL at IFFR 2011 / BRIGHT FUTURE Programme 27 jan jan jan 11 4 feb Press & Industry Public Public Public Cinerama 2 Pathé 4 Pathé 5 Cinerama 1
2 PITCH Grande Hotel, Beira, Mozambique. In one of the grandest hotels in the world, born of and to luxury, today you enter at own risk. More than 2500 people live there without water or electricity. They have taken possession of the building and manipulated not only the stones but also the dreams. A journey through present and past of a city in a city; a story about colonial megalomania, revolutionary vanity and feeling at home.
3 SYNOPSIS Berta still doesn t feel at home in Portugal, even after 33 years. As a real but white - Mozambican, she feels she s on holiday in someone else s house. Her musings take us to her real home : the city of Beira. Here resides the Grande Hotel, the symbol of the troubled history of Mozambique, an eyewitness to colonialism, old years eve parties, honeymoons, a revolutionary and a civil war. This megalomaneous pride and joy of the colonial regime, built in 1955, was doomed to fail. Dream and reality were too far apart. This monster of square metres only had 110 extremely luxury rooms. It could not pay off. 60 years later, it is the home of more than 2500 permanent guests. Nothing is what it was. Only the skeletal remains. Today decorated in a completely different way. Everything that could be converted for housing is used. The state of the hotel today raises questions. We get to know the reality of today through Moises and Lapiston, two good friends with an equally turbulent life as the city in the city in which they live. Moises worked his way up in the hierarchy of the internal social organization and therefore knows the Grande Hotel s goings by heart. The residents have few contact with the outside world and form an - to avoid - enclave. Gradually the coloured past of the hotel and thus of Mozambique, seeps in. Archive footage but also the anecdotal stories of ghosts from the past we hear on images of the hotel today, bring the paradox to life. They tell us how this empty building got populated during the civil war and the major floods in Mozambique. They unveil the revolutionary history of this country and the traces it left behind at the hotel. We meet Dilat, one of the first occupiers. The hotel was in perfect condition, including furniture, when he arrived 31 years ago. Slowly but surely, it was dismantled and the material sold. A way to survive. Today, they sell the stones, the only things left... We see the impending danger. The hotel now appears to be a last home. Their own little corner in this world is crumbling. No one intervenes; a solution is not a political priority. But besides destruction there is also construction, and therefore hope. Moises helped to build the new mosque and barbershop in the hotel complex. And together with his wife Eliza, he runs a small shop. Every character has its own survival strategy: Dilat dismantles, Moises builds and Berta lives on her memories. But what has to become of all these people, trapped in their current situation? The dreams and wishes of the protagonists for their future alternate with what the ghosts have in mind for the building: from a controlled implosion, a glorious state museum to a university of the people.
4 DIRECTOR S STATEMENT Mozambique, Beira. Looking for the best coffee in town, I passed an intriguing building. From a distance it seemed a perfect concept for social housing, lots of families together, running, playing through the open corridors... The next days, I kept on looking for coffee and got sucked in the real world of what used to be a Grande Hotel. Despite its current, positively uninviting condition or perhaps because of it the hotel and its permanent guests seemed to have cast a spell on me. Up close, the Grande Hotel fascinates and frustrates. Zooming in on the lives of the people currently living in Grande Hotel was an obvious choice. Involving the past was just as obvious once you have seen the hotel up close. One can t help wondering, What happened here? I wanted to superimpose an auditory narrative of the past (by different characters who lived that past) on the visual narrative of the present. History as a multitude of layers on top of the present. The hotel summons up a world of contrasts. The wealth of the past and the poverty of today. Construction and demolition. On the inside, the hotel is forever looted while at the same time new, makeshift constructions are set up to adapt the building to the needs of the new occupants. Colonies and by extension nations are also subject to those same forces. And what about the building s original hotel function, a temporary shelter for people who are just passing through? Wasn t colonialism in Africa also just passing through? The contrasts in the story are visually translated. We aimed for a photography that emphasizes the clair obscure of the stripped building with next to no electricity. Not a single additional light was used. The Grande Hotel is pictured with long shots in order to give an overview and to emphasize its grandness. These long shots have the aesthetics of an invitation; we use P.O.V. s typical of promotional films in the era the hotel was built. Contrasting with this is the intimacy to the characters. The wrinkles in the face of Berta tell part of the story, just like those in the much younger faces of the people at the Grande Hotel. The camera enters the hotel like a guest; all interaction with the characters is done directly to the camera. I didn t want to produce a historical document. This is my attempt at understanding the inner life of a proud shell and its relation to that shell. No movie about bad colonialists versus poor Africans. I just want to touch on the great upheaval which politics can cause in personal life and how it intermingles with a main human issue: feeling at home. The spectator will have to make his or her own choices. Will you see the dream that was or rather a movie about people s surprising powers of self-organization, about man s resilience in the face of the worst possible odds? Will you experience the claustrophobia of being in a place with no way out, or will you see it as an indictment of an unacceptable situation: must this go on until the last brick is sold?
5 DIRECTOR S PROFILE After studying art history and theater sciences, LOTTE STOOPS created multiple works for theater. Curiosity characterised her interventions and performances in the public space in which she started to experiment with film. Lotte Stoops traveled extensively and worked in a 24/24 intervention team for children in crisis situations. Nowadays, she reunites her assembled expertise and social engagement in the making of documentaries. She is currently developing the documentaries BEGUINES BEGIN WITHIN (with writers Ute Muegge-Lauterbach & Joachim Kurz) and MAMMALIA MIA. FILMOGRAPHY 2010 GRANDE HOTEL, 70 documentary 2006 SPIEGELBLAD, 90 experimental feature SWAZI SECRETS, 26 documentary 2005 CUT THE CRAP, 20 documentary
6 COMPANY PROFILE Serendipity Films is an independent production company based in Belgium, created in 2006 by producer Ellen De Waele. Serendipity concentrates on (co)producing international feature films and documentaries highlighting social relevant issues, initiated by young and established, fresh and innovative talent. After studying Communication (Université Catholique de Louvain) and Anthropology (Università degli Studi, Bologna), Ellen De Waele (1973) started working in the film industry in South Africa. After her return to Belgium and a career in the advertising industry, she became managing director and producer of Brussels based production company CCCP where she produced several fiction and documentary projects with directors such as Michael Roskam, Wim Vandekeybus, Koen Mortier, Luc Vrydaghs and Bart Van den Bempt. In 2005 she received the European Certificate in Audiovisual Financing and Commercialisation at the Sorbonne in Paris. She launched Serendipity Films in 2006, with the Dutch/Belgian co-production NADINE, by acclaimed director of feature WILD MUSSELS, Erik de Bruyn. Recent films include GRANDE HOTEL by Lotte Stoops (IFFR 2011, Bright Future programme), THE NEW SAINT by Allard Detiger (IDFA 2010, IFFR 2011-Made in Rotterdam) and Nanouk Leopold s feature BROWNIAN MOVEMENT (Toronto 2010, Berlinale 2011). In post-production are the documentary EPILOGUE (Manno Lanssens) and the short film DEATH OF A SHADOW (Tom Van Avermaet). She is currently developing feature films 82 DAYS IN APRIL (EAVE programme 2008) and A YEAR FROM AUGUST of Bart Van den Bempt, and documentaries BEGUINES BEGIN WITHIN (Lotte Stoops, Ute Muegge-Lauterbach & Joachim Kurz) and LEO HENDRIK BAEKELAND, THE INVENTOR OF BAKELITE (Jan Vromman & Jean Marc Panis). She is also the co-producer of director Ineke Smits feature THE AVIATRIX OF KAZBEK (closing film of IFFR 2010) and Philippe de Pierpont s feature SHE S NOT CYRING, SHE S SINGING (Berlinale Co-production Market 2009). Serendipity Films is a member of the EAVE and EDN network GRANDE HOTEL, documentary by Lotte Stoops. In co-production with Volya Films (NL) 2010 THE NEW SAINT, documentary by Allard Detiger. In co-production with Volya Films (NL) 2010 CAMPUS KASSAPA, documentary by Ronnie Ramirez. In co-production with Iota Production (French Belgium) 2010 BOYAMBA BELGIQUE, documentary by Dries Engels & Bart Van Peel 2010 BROWNIAN MOVEMENT, feature by Nanouk Leopold. In co-production with Circe Films (NL), Coin Film (DE) 2010 THE AVIATRIX OF KAZBEK, feature by Ineke Smits. In co-production with Isabella Films (NL), Fu Works (NL), Volya Films (NL) 2008 JACK, THE BALKANS & I, documentary by Sergej Kreso. In co-production with Volya Films (NL) 2007 NADINE, feature by Erik de Bruyn. In co-production with Rocketta Film (NL) 2007 EX DRUMMER, feature by Koen Mortier 2006 GAS STATION, documentary series by Luc Vrydaghs 2005 BLUSH, dance film by Wim Vandekeybus 2005 THE ONE THING TO DO, short by Michael R. Roskam 2005 MARIA DOLORES, feature by Wayn Traub 2004 FIGHTING FOR OTHERS, DYING FOR POLAND, documentary by Bart Verstockt 2004 CARLO, short by Michael R. Roskam METROMANIA, short by Bart Van den Bempt
7 CREW DIRECTOR PRODUCER CO-PRODUCER PRODUCTION MANAGER DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY SOUND RECORDING EDITING SOUND DESIGN & MIX MUSIC Lotte Stoops Ellen De Waele Denis Vaslin Sophie Casse Joao Ribeiro Gabriel Mondlane, Armanda Carvalho Katerina Türler, Dieter Diependaele Yves De Mey Lula Pena TECHNICAL INFO TITEL GRANDE HOTEL FORMAT HD RUNNING TIME 70 & 52 LANGUAGE Portuguese, English SUBTITLES Dutch, English WEBSITE INFO & SALES SERENDIPITY FILMS Huigeveldstraat St-Antelinks Belgium M T/F E PRESS CONTACT THE PR FACTORY Gudrun Burie Barbara Van Lombeek Marie-France Dupagne Supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Belgian Development Cooperation - DGD, CANVAS & Beursschouwburg Brussels