• Festivals

Dominique Deruddere’s Latest Film “The Chapel” Opens the Prestigious Ostend Film Festival

The Chapel, the new movie from Belgian director Dominique Deruddere, premiered this past Friday, January 27 as the opening film at the Ostend Film festival (FFO).

The Chapel tells the story of a twenty-three-year-old virtuoso pianist, Jennifer Rogiers (Taeke Nicolaï). She has lived most of her life with a frightful secret. When Jennifer is given a chance to compete in the final of the world-famous Queen Elisabeth Competition, her memory of a traumatic childhood experience threatens to resurface. This inner turmoil reaches a breaking point when, being amongst the 12 finalists, the young pianist must be placed in isolation in the music chapel for seven days. There, any contact with the outside world is strictly forbidden.

Director Dominique Deruddere, one of the most famed and beloved Flemish filmmakers in Belgian cinema history, is at the helm of The Chapel. His impressive film resume includes: Everybody Famous, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001; Flying Home, Hombres Complicados, and the much cherished Wait until Spring, Bandini, produced by Francis Ford Coppola.


It’s been a decade since Deruddere directed a feature movie for the big screen. Yet, the multitalented director has remained busy in the City of Angeles writing and rewriting screenplays for many years. Amongst them, his latest psychological drama The Chapel, is the director’s tenth film. 

The thriller holds a strong Flemish cast. Deruddere trusted Taeke Nicolaï, a young up-and-coming actress from Antwerp, to portray the lead role of Jennifer, the young concert pianist.

The famous Queen Elisabeth Competition is a classical international music contest held in breathtaking concert halls and other classical spaces. They were the perfect setting for this intense drama.

Deruddere said he felt honored to have The Chapel be the opening night film at the Ostend Film Festival. “This movie feels like my most personal film made to date. So, it warms my heart and it makes me very happy to present it at FFO. The international and competitive arena of the Queen Elizabeth Competition truly captures one’s imagination,” Deruddere said during an interview with cinevox.be. “How one’s ambition is not only driven by past traumas but how that past can hold a person back from moving forward. A fascinating conflict.” Deruddere, who only recently returned to his home country after living in Los Angeles for 10 years, added: “For me, it was wonderful to be filming a movie in Belgium again, granted with a small yet amazingly talented team.”

‘The Chapel is a coproduction by Bart Van Langendonck’s Savage Film (Bullhead, Racer and the Jailbird, The Ardennes) and the Walloon production house Tarantula.

In addition to being highlighted as the opening film at FFO, movie lovers will receive an extra special treat: the chance to rediscover some of Deruddere’s past work. His films Brussels By Night (1983), Crazy Love (1987), Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1989), Hombres Complicados (1998), and Everybody Famous (2000) will all be exhibited on the big screen during the film festival.