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Lukas Dhont: from La Résidence to Caméra d’Or

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Lukas Dhont is an audiovisual arts graduate from the KASK Art Academy in Ghent, the Belgian town where he was born. His shorts Corps Perdu and L’Infini made an impact and won a number of awards, including at Film Fest Ghent and Louvain International Short Film Festival, with L’Infini being qualified for the Oscars in 2015.

In 2016, he joined the 33rd Résidence session at the Festival de Cannes alongside Caroline Monnet from Quebec, Cenk Erturk from Turkey, Mees Peijnenburg from the Netherlands, Takeshi Fukunaga from Japan, and fellow Belgian film-maker Zeno Graton. Over a four-and-a-half-month period, the young director honed his first feature film, Another Skin, receiving tailored support in writing the screenplay and engaging in group talks and sessions with film industry professionals.

Synopsis original de Another Skin : Lara, a 15-year-old transgender girl, and her father Mathias move to a new city. They want to start over as Lara makes the switch in everyday life. Lara auditions as a girl in a ballet school and is accepted for a trial period. Her life is dominated by taking hormone blockers, and waiting: waiting for female hormone therapy and surgery that will finally align, once and for all, her sex with her gender identity. Lara sees everyone around her going through puberty and starts acting like she is as well. Dancing as a female seems more challenging than she originally thought. Her male body gets in the way. She drives it to the limits and beyond.

Two years later, the same story had been reworked for Girl, Lukas Dhont’s first feature film, winning him a place in Selection at Un Certain Regard. The film’s themes and the pitch-perfect performance served up by young Victor Polster as Lara impressed the audience at Cannes, with the jury awarding Girl the Award for Best Performance as well as the Caméra d’Or 2018, an honour bestowed on the best first feature film in any of the Cannes’ selections (Festival de Cannes, Critics Week, Directors’ Fortnight).


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