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    Kaat Beels

    Director

    Despite her love of documentaries, fiction became her passion. Flemish director Kaat Beels is known for a number of short films, the feature-length Swooni and TV series such as Jes, Clan and Vermist. Between directing and managing a family, she sits with her head in the clouds, in an apartment in the second highest residential tower in Brussels.

    If you look outside now,
    you have an almost
    cinematic image
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    The tower dates from the seventies, but the fresh colours and wooden accents in your apartment exude a summery, fifties atmosphere.

    The interior decoration was inspired by the TV series Mad Men. The apartment was originally divided into several rooms, but our architect removed the walls and opened up the views. If you look outside now, you have an almost cinematic image. My partner (Nathalie Basteyns) and I, as directors, think it’s fantastic. You can even see the Atomium in the distance. Although we live close to the city, we are surrounded by greenery. Living here is blissful.


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    For the last three months,
    I was either on set or at home
    with the children
    The structure that we have today,
    both personally and professionally,
    brings calm into our lives
    Is it difficult to find a balance between family life and a busy job?

    Absolutely. It’s been a heavy year and our second baby, Nico, was born nine months ago. In the three months that I spent at home, I prepared our current project Bon Séjour. It’s the story of a girl who, after she is killed, has to solve her own murder case. We envisage a haunting drama series, a raw, contemporary whodunit with a surreal twist. You’ll be able to watch it on Eén from 2016 onwards. The series is set in Limburg, and Nathalie and I divided the amount of time that we spent on location. For the last three months, I was either on set or at home with the children.


    Each project requires an enormous investment of time. There’s research, filming, editing and promotion... How do you deal with that?

    The different stages are time-consuming, but this is what makes directing so interesting. We’ve just finished Bon Séjour and there are already two new projects in the pipeline. Before the children, we travelled extensively and made documentaries using hand-held cameras. There’s nowhere that we haven’t been. We’re focusing more on fiction series now and, on a film set, everything happens according to a fixed pattern. I’m 41-years-old now, and we waited a long time to start a family. If I’d had children when I was twenty-two, I’d have been too restless. The structure that we have today, both personally and professionally, brings calm into our lives.

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    In the morning, I have
    about three seconds
    to decide what to wear,
    so I’m especially keen
    on basics
    You work a lot. Does your lifestyle affect your look?

    In the morning, I have about three seconds to decide what to wear, so I’m especially keen on basics. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to go shopping but, when I do, I like to go to Antwerp. I prefer to spend more money on good quality pieces. If I had a particular dress sense, I would call it sleek, minimalist, sporty and sober.


    How much importance do you attach to clothes?

    I’m more concerned with styling my cast, than myself. In my line of work, clothes are crucial to the look and feel of a project. We often style the actors in conjunction with a costume specialist, and work from the story and the characters. The character’s style must be absolutely right for the narrative. You can tell an enormous amount about a person from their clothes, and we always try to take this into account, and to develop it in a playful way.