NISI MASA alleged conflicts of interests under the tenure of Wim Vanacker

Categorized as Alleged Conflict of Interest, Community Posts Tagged ,

Favouritism and conflict of interest at NISI MASA, now known as “European Short Pitch”, under the tenure of Wim Vanacker. The information presented below is part of a wider story in which a couple of dozen people effectively “control” a large part of the film industry in Europe, through a web of personal connections, by holding multiple roles in several interconnected organizations, such as film festivals, script labs, and national film funding bodies.

Important – this is in the context of the European film market, where funding for films, labs & festivals is in large part public, meaning it is funded with taxpayers money. Fairness and transparency is expected.

NISI MASA, now called “European Short Pitch”, plays a significant role in promoting emerging professionals within the European film industry.

Over the years, concerns have been raised regarding potential alleged conflicts of interest, as highlighted in the example below. Additionally, it is important to consider the below information in the context of the numerous projects that are submitted annually for consideration – dozens of projects, if not more – which renders the below data a statistical impossibility, and indicates, allegedly, at favouritism and nepotism.

It is also important to recognize that the organization benefits from public funding provided by the European Union. This is not a private organization. It is funded with public tax payers money.

A series of potential conflicts of interest and favouritism within the NISI MASA organization, particularly involving an individual named Ben “Bekke” Vandendaele, the owner of Bekke Films and distribution company RADIATOR IP Sales. Here’s a breakdown to clarify the situation:

  1. Repeated Selections of Ben Vandendaele’s Productions:
    • In the 2016 NISI MASA event, two films were produced by Ben Vandendaele, “Deer Boy” and “The Hoarder”.
    • In the 2017 NISI MASA event, two films produced by Ben Vandendaele, “Hunt” and “The Nipple Whisperer,” were selected.
    • In 2018, another film produced by Vandendaele’s company, “Vegeance Of The Vixens,” was selected, while he was working as a consultant in the organization.
    • In 2019, he again produced a film selected in the program “Creatures”, while again working as a consultant in the organization.
  2. Multiple Roles in the Same Event:
    • In 2018, Ben Vandendaele played multiple roles:
      • He was a producer of a selected film.
      • He acted as a consultant to the organization.
      • He was involved in awarding a Distribution Award to a different project.
      • At the same time, he received an award for a film he produced.
  3. Connections to Jury Members:
    • In 2017, Daria Vlasova, a jury member, was involved in a film where Bekke Films, owned by Vandendaele, was the agent.
    • Jury member Jérôme Nunes had connections to Ben Vandendaele.
    • In the same year, two films connected to jury member Marija Fridinovaitė were selected.
  4. Potential Conflict of Interest with Jury Member Ola Jankowska:
    • Ben Vandendaele’s distribution company handled Ola Jankowska’s “Deer Boy,” while she was a jury member at the event.
  5. Award Win Under Questionable Circumstances:
    • In 2018, “VENGEANCE OF THE VIXENS,” produced by Bekke Films (owned by Ben), won an award while Ben was also serving as a consultant.
  6. Selection of a project produced by a fellow Cannes committee member:
  7. Selection of film by a director / producer duo, later to be involved in a major controversy:

The above situations raises concerns about conflicts of interest and favouritism, where the same individual or their connected entities are involved in multiple roles such as a producer, distributor, consultant, and award-giver or recipient, potentially influencing the selection and award processes. This can undermine the integrity of the competition and the fairness of the selection and awarding processes.

Please note that Wim Vanacker and Ben Vandendaele are both from Belgium.

Raw information:

NISI MASAShort film jury 2017
Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic (Croatia)
Aristotelis Maragkos (Greece)
Daria Vlasova (Russia)Thanked for help on this film for which Ben Vanderdaele/Bekke Films was co- producer and sales agent
Marijana Verhoef (Serbia)
Marija Fridinovaitė (Lithuania)Film by her previous? production company was selected. previousy worked with producer of another selected film
Ola Jankowska (Poland)Thanked for help on Deer Boy, for which Ben Vandendaele is sales agent
Eoin Maher (Dublin)
Franco Dipietro (Italy)
Gábor Osváth (Hungary)His own film was selected
Tom Floyd (N Ireland)
Wim Vanacker (Dublin)
Thelyia Petraki (Greece)
Jérôme Nunes (France)Connected to Bekke Films. Got a “thanks” credit on “Joy Palace” which was co-produced by Bekke Films.
Bekke Films shared a Page — feeling excited with Jerome Nunes and 4 others at Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds.
May 15, 2016 · Brussels, Belgium ·
Koen de Jongh (Netherlands)
Kostas Tagalakis (Greece)
Final selection short film 2017Producer
Aya– Samuel Sultana, Stephanie Sant (Malta/France)Shadeena Entertainment
Martin Bonnici (TLF decision maker 2012)
Blood Group – Daan Bunnik (Netherlands)Bunnik’s own Production company: PRPL
Encountering Samir– Rand Beiruty (Jordan/Germany)NoneWon ESP grant from Interforum Berlin 2016:
Fluid Border– Joana Vogdt (Germany)Fayal Omer, Miko Film (Hamburg) & Joana Vogdt (Berlin)
Golden Minutes– Saulius Baradinskas, Titas Laucius (Lithuania)Viktorija Seniut (Viktoria Films), Martynas Mickenas (Baltic Productions) Co-Producer: Mirta Puhlovski (Slavica Film)JURY MEMBER Marija Fridinovaitė worked for Baltic Productions. She also worked for NISI MASA at the same time in other capacities:

Hospitalities– Ronan Posnic (France)None
Hunt– Senad Šahmanovic, Claudia Bottino (Montenegro/Belgium)Ben Vandendaele (Belgium), Senad Sahmanovic (Montenegro)
Lazarus– Emanuele Milasi (Italy)None
Riga’s Lilac– Lizete Upite (Latvia)Richard Van Den Boom Papy 3D (France)
The Figurant– Kamila Dohnalova, Jan Vejnar (Czech Republic)Kamila Dohnalová Silk Films
The Nipple Whisperer– Jan Van Dyck (Belgium)Ben Vandendaele Handelskaai Bekke Films
The Shift– Luka Popadic (Switzerland, Serbia)Ognjen Glavonic / Franziska Sonder Non Aligned Films, Serbia & Radar Film GmbH, Switzerland
The Silence of the Dying Fish– Vasilis Kekatos (Greece)Eleni Kossyfidou Blackbird ProductionRead more about this relationship here.
Tina and Sandy– Hani Damazet (Croatia)Mirta Puhlovski slavica film
Under the volcano there is always a man sleeping– Sameh Alaa (Egypt/Belgium)Muhammad Taymour, Metropolis
Vesela loves chocolate– Stefka Mancheva (BulgariaVanya Rainova
work in progess pitch
BANALITY Balazs Simonyi – HungaryGabor Osvath, Nora Alfoldi
Gabor Osvath is on the 2017 jury
BATHHOUSE Laurynas BareiĹĄa – LithuaniaKlementina Remeikaite (Afterschool)Klementina previously worked with jury member Marija Fridinovaitė
GABRIEL Oren Gerner – Israel / FranceMelissa Malinbaum Why Not Productions
I’LL PROBABLY NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN Mitja Mlakar – SloveniaMojca Pernat Filmfactory
MALVA AND LESHY Marcin Karolewski – PolandOlga Cyganiak Juice Ltd
ESP Selection Committee 2018
Emanuele Milasi (Italy)
Eoin Maher (Ireland, UK)
Jan Vejnar (Czech Republic)
Jerome Nunes (France)
Kostas Tagalakis (Greece)Worked as location manager on film “Sto Spiti” in which Marisha Triantafyllidou was an actress
Lizete Upite (Latvia)
Marija Fridinovaite (Lithuania, France)
Mitja Mlakar (Slovenia)
Rand Beiruty (Jordan, Germany)
Wim Vanacker (Belgium, France)
ESP 2018 CONSULTANTSBen Vandendaele
David Verdurme
ESP Final Selection 2018Producer
Beyond the River– Galaxy Spanos (Greece, Switzerland)Maria Repousi
Deer– Istvan Hevesi (Hungary)László Józsa, Speak Easy Project,
Focus Fox
Divine in his creatures– Katarina Stankovic (Serbia)None
Drawing Shadows– Maxence Vassilyevitch (France)Les Films de la Capitaine – Laurine Pelassy (France)Pelassy produced Memoria, a film selected in ESP 2016
Elena– Birutė Sodeikaitė (Lithuania)Agne Adomene, Artshot
Gila Who Walks Alone– Yuval Shapira (Romania, Israel)Ilya Marcus
Home Sweet Home– Michalina Fabijanska, Agata Puszcz (Poland)Katarzyna Fukacz, Tito Productions
Maissa– Lea Triboulet (France, Spain)None
Pale Saint– Rhys Jones (UK, Ireland)Alexander Polunin
Rizi– Stella Kyriakopoulos, Marisha Triantafyllidou (Greece, Spain)Fani Skartouli Either/Or Productions
Sedra– Judita Gamulin (Croatia)Rea Rajčić, Eclectica (Croatia)
The Inheritance– Mihnea Rares Hantiu (Romania)Oana Furdea
the Rudeness of a German Lady– Silva Capin (Croatia)Rea Rajčić, Eclectica (Croatia)
Trampoline– Kristian Sjerbo (Denmark)Maria Moller Kjeldgaard
Production company: Manna Film (Denmark) Co-producer: Mélissa Malinbaum, Face Nord Films (France)
Vegeance Of The Vixens– Leander Hanssen, Niels Snoek (Belgium)Bekke Films
When bodies fall from the sky– Yenni Lee (NorwayRonny Fritsche Zentropa Sweden and Nina Barbosa (Barbosa Film)
Work in progress pitchEva -Xheni Alushi (Albania / Switzerland)Noah Bohnert, LetterBox Collective (Switzerland)
QUXUROBA – Teymur Gambarov (Azerbaijan / Russia)Memuar Films, Fil Production,Etienne Ricaud
Soy tu Papa – Garrick J Lauterbach (The Netherlands / Switzerland / Mexico)Noah Bohnert,Letterbox Collective, Fidelio Films (Mexico)
TINA & SENDY Hani Domazet (Croatia)Mirta Puhlovski, Slavica FilmFilm was in final selection NISI MASA 2017
ESP Winners 2018
Best PitchTHE INHERITANCE by Mihnea Rares Hantiu – Romania
THE RUDENESS OF A GERMAN LADY by Silva Capin – Croatia
VENGEANCE OF THE VIXENS by Leander Hanssen Jr – BelgiumBekke films
The Aubagne International Film Festival awardELENA by Biruté Sodeikaité – Lithuania
Gear award by 2K4K Film Rental Waclaw MaczynskiDIVINE IN HIS CREATURES by Katarina Stankovic – Serbia
Works-in-Progress Awards
Distribution Award – Radiator IP Sales – Ben Vandendaele (Belgium)QUXUROBA by Teymur Gambarov – Azerbaijan/Russia
Image Award Poznanska Wytwornia Filmowa (Poznan Motion Pictures) – Anita Trzyna providing image postproduction (Poland)QUXUROBA by Teymur Gambarov – Azerbaijan/Russia
Mastering award – The Fridge (Belgium)QUXUROBA by Teymur Gambarov – Azerbaijan/Russia

Our organization is dedicated to unveiling the true decision-making processes and power dynamics within the film industry. The chart below provides a comprehensive summary of these elements. Our goal is to democratize access and provide talented, emerging young filmmakers with the opportunities they rightfully deserve to succeed in the industry.


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