Antwerp short film Daydreamers now also wins award in Venice after New York: “I didn’t even know we were nominated” | Antwerp

ANTWERPAfter best student short film at the very prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York, ‘Daydreamers’ by director Ante Pask (22), starring Jurgen Delnaet, now wins a second international prize. This time the honor goes to screenwriter Emiel Van Wouwe (27), who won the Venice Short Film Festival with his gripping story. “In New York I didn’t get on stage in time to receive the award and this time I didn’t even know we were entered.”

Rewind to early this summer. After screenings in Belgium at the Leuven Short Film Festival and the Youth European Film Festival (JEF), the short film ‘Daydreamers’ by Ante Pask (22) from Berchem crosses the pond to the United States. At the very prestigious Tribeca film festival in New York – co-founded by Robert De Niro – the Antwerp production wins the prize for best short film.

Missed award ceremony

“We never thought we would even have a chance to win a prize”, screenwriter Emiel Van Wouwe (27) from Antwerp looks back on the adventure in New York. “After the premiere at the festival, the whole team returned home, but I decide to stick around a bit to play the tourist. I’m cycling through the city when I suddenly get a phone call from Ante. Turns out we won first prize for short film and the award will be presented at that very moment.”

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The premiere of their own film just barely makes it to the Tribeca Film Festival. The award ceremony a week later did not. © rv

Emiel rushes to the award show on his bike. “Of course I’m wrong about the building”, he chuckles. “And I’m hopelessly late. The film festival staff tries to help me, but then the words come, full of pity: ‘It’s kind of about now’. Host Robert De Niro is on the stage of Tribeca that evening, but Emiel Van Wouwe is too stupid to get to the award ceremony in time,” the jolly screenwriter continues with a laugh. “Fortunately, the festival later sent the prize to Ante.”

School project

With so much interest and big prizes you would almost forget that ‘Daydreamers’ is just a school assignment. Ante studies at the RITCS in Brussels and takes her idea to screenwriter Emiel before graduating last year. “Ante came up with a strong idea and I jumped on the bandwagon and wrote the story together with her,” says Emiel. “In full lockdown, we almost didn’t see each other during that period. I think she managed and directed the entire production in a wonderful way. The award for best film at Tribeca is completely deserved.”


But this week Emiel herself was honored at the Venetian short film festival ‘Venezia Shorts’, the smaller brother of the worldwide renowned Venice International Film Festival. Just like on his bike in New York, he comes completely out of the blue. “I didn’t even know we were selected, let alone winning the best screenwriter award. Let’s just say that communication and promotion may not be our forte”, he continues with a laugh.

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Jurgen Delnaet loses his sight in Daydreamers and fears that he will no longer be able to take care of his eleven-year-old daughter. © rv

Father-daughter relationship

Daydreamers tells the story of a father, played by Jurgen Delnaet from, among others, Aanrijding in Moscou, In Vlaamse Velden, Cordon and Marsman, whose vision deteriorates quickly and can no longer ride his beloved motorcycle with his nine-year-old daughter, played by Flo Martens. “The father is afraid that he will no longer be able to take care of his daughter, but his daughter thinks he is only sad because he cannot sit on his motorcycle,” Emiel explains his story briefly. “In her own childish, sometimes naive way, she unconsciously shows her father that their daddy-daughter relationship transcends the physical.”

Ferris wheel

In the meantime Emiel is working on a new miniseries for production house Eyeworks and VTM GO. He wants to delve into web series but dreams of writing his own long player. “I also have a passion project under my own management. A short film set in the Ferris wheel on the Antwerp Steenplein that unfolds in a frame story in the various cabinets and in the meantime sketches a portrait of the city.”

Daydreamers is a production by Ante Pask (producer, director, screenwriter), Ella Bal (producer), Emiel Van Wouwe (screenwriter), Sebastiaan Buts (assistant direction), Arne Fivez (cinematographer), Janneke Maes (editor) and Laura Huysmans and Peter Pask (composers). More info

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