The 2011 Oscars are behind us. We know the winners and losers. We know who went home with a statue and who did not. In reality it is not the winning or losing that matters, it is being invited to the game, just being part of the team is what counts.  

I have been a fan of Belgium since the late 60’s. It was a country of awe to this teenage boy. The port of Oostende was my introduction. And boy did I like it! This was a very far cry from grey and dreary England. I can’t tell everything about this stopover. But Oostende was the first time I tasted a real cup of coffee. It was very different from the ‘Instant’ back home. I was hooked! Of course the young lady I met might have had something to do with it….

I was very happy when I heard that the Belgium film by Michael Roskam ‘Bullhead’ had received an invite to the worlds most prestigious movie celebration, the Oscars!

Bullhead had garnered some 25 awards on the international film festival circuit, but the Oscars are a different beast. Artistic quality is the name of the game. 

As it turned out, Bullhead and Michael Roskam did not win the much coveted statue, but they have much to be proud of.

I learned many years ago that winning is by trying, not by a trophy on your bookcase.

Through a strange twist of fate I know a little about Bullhead and how Michael Roskam became part of the Oscars. It is due to the largesse of two companies, the Alamo Drafthouse chain of theaters, and computer chip maker AMD.

The CEO of Alamo Tim League saw a screening of Bullhead at the Cannes film festival, he was so impressed that he brought the film back to the US. He wanted to feature it at the Austin Fantastic Fest.

Fantastic Fest may be best known as a sci-fi extravaganza, but as I found out from Tim, that’s Bull Stuff.

We feature films worthy of the festival, genre is not important.

One of the highlights of Fantastic Fest is the Next Wave award. In the five years it has existed, every winner has indeed gone on to win. At first sight the AMD Next Wave award might not seem much, a trophy and a $1000, but it goes much further. It is a springboard to greater heights in the film industry.

The Next Wave award was the brainchild of AMD’s Director Of Digital Entertainment, Charlie Boswell. I for one applaud AMD for their commitment to the film industry. Without the Charlie Boswell’s of the world the independent  film world would be a bleak place.

The Oscars are a gala event and the pride of Belgium received the red carpet treatment. The Belgium Consulate General Geert Criel hosted an Oscar viewing party at the Belgium Consulate in Los Angeles. One of those in attendance was Charlie Boswell, who had this to say about the event:

It was an honor to be invited, everyone was welcoming and treated me like an old friend. Sure, there was a brief moment of disappointment  when Bullhead did not win, but it did nothing to change the celebration of a great achievement.

What would the Oscars be without a post Oscar party? Drafthouse Alamo and AMD hosted a great event at the Silent Movie Theater.


The red carpet was out and some 100 people came to enjoy the fun. Belgium is known for its fine beer, and that was in evidence.


Bullhead did not win but (left to right) Tim League, Michael Roskam, and Charlie Boswell were still happy.


 Also in attendance was the star of the film, Matthias Schoenaerts.


 I suspect that we will be hearing more about these two in the future. Bullhead certainly shows that there is more to Belgium than Waffles, Chocolate and Beer!

Simon Barrett


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