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NeoClassics Films Brings Belgian Cinema To the Desert
The Over The Hill Band and The Misfortunates Screen at Palm Springs International Film Fest
By Gregg Schwenk

Palm Springs, CA - Canadian-based NeoClassics Films Ltd. (NeoClassics) is pleased to announce that two of its recent acquisitions, the hit Belgian feature films THE OVER THE HILL BAND and THE MISFORTUNATES, will screen at the 21st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. THE OVER THE HILL BAND will have its US premiere Saturday, January 16.

THE OVER THE HILL BAND is the latest picture from the producers of the 2008 Cannes Semaine de Critiques winner MOSCOW, BELGIUM which NeoClassics successfully distributed in the US earlier this year. Dries Phlypo and Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem produced the film through their company, A Private View.

THE OVER THE HILL BAND is the story of a seventy year old woman (Marilou Mermans) who used to sing in a girls band when she was much, much younger. After the death of her husband, she decides to go on stage again. She asks her rebel son Sid (Jan Van Looveren), a down and out R&B musician, to help her start a new band with two girlfriends from the old days. Sid would rather drown in the North Sea than share the stage with mommy dearest, but in the end he agrees. On one condition: it has to be his music...

A dramatic comedy directed by Geoffrey Enthoven (THE ONLY ONE), THE OVER THE HILL BAND was written by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem (MOSCOW, BELGIUM) and Chris Craps (CRUSADE IN JEANS). Pascal Garnier and Stef Caers wrote swinging R&B versions of some classic pop tunes for the film's soundtrack.

Palm Springs will also screen THE MISFORTUNATES, Felix van Groeningen's third feature film, and Belgium's official entry in the Foreign Language Film category of the 82nd Academy Awards. Produced in Flemish with English subtitles by Oscar-nominated producer Dirk Impens for Menuet in co-production with IDTV, won a rare three jury awards at the Hamptons Film Festival, and screened in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at Cannes and at Toronto. The film opened to big boxoffice in Belgium.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel of the same name by Dimitri Verhulst, THE MISFORTUNATES (De Helaasheid der Dingen) follows 13-year-old Gunther Strobbe's uplifting struggleˇ to break away from his derelict home life. A raw, darkly humorous tale of debauchery, pathos and growing up, the film finds hope and resurrection amidst the moral depravity and lecherous behavior that Gunther's father and uncles indulge in on a daily basis.

"We're delighted to screen these films at Palm Springs," concludes Irwin Olian, CEO of NeoClassics. "Palm Springs is a terrific showcase of international independent film and these two films are at the vanguard of Belgian cinema. We look forward to introducing them to the Festival's audience."

Celebrating its 21st anniversary, Palm Springs International Film Festival was founded in 1990 by then-Mayor Sonny Bono. This year's Festival will include over 400 screenings of more than 200 films from approximately 60 countries. The Festival presents a majority of the films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language category for the Academy Awards, as well as a large number of American independent and international features and documentaries marking their world, North American or U.S. debuts. Screenings are held on 15 screens throughout Palm Springs.

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Gregg Schwenk is a writer, educator, and entrepreneur. He reports on a number of various subjects including: film, art, technology and politics. Mr. Schwenk is an adjunct professor at CSUF's Center for Entertainment and Tourism located in Orange County, California. He is also a consultant and advisor to several entertainment and technology firms. In 2005, Mr. Schwenk was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce, to the District Export Council. He has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and completed the Advanced Management Program at USC.

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