The Domestique

#IrishFilm: Screen Flanders saddles up with Kieron J. Walsh’s The Domestique

Belgium’s Screen Flanders is to invest €1,985,000 in 10 new audiovisual productions, including the Irish-Belgian-Luxemburg co-production The Domestique by director Kieron J. Walsh (Jump) and writer Ciaran Cassidy (The Last Days of Peter Bergmann).

It’s 1998, the infamous year when the opening stages of the ‘Tour de France’ are relocated to Ireland – and news breaks of the massive drug scandal permeating the sport. Dominique ‘Dom’ Chabol has been one of the best ‘Domestiques” (support rider) for the last 20 years. It’s a sacrificial role – setting pace, blocking wind, and providing support, to enable the team’s sprinter to victory – for domestiques, winning is not on the table.

But at the start of the Tour, Dom is unceremoniously dropped. His best mate Sonny, the team masseur, fails to reassure him about his future. A chance liaison with Lynn, a young doctor, softens the blow, and with her help Dom starts to accept – and even enjoy – the idea of civilian life… But as he gears up to go home and to face his estranged sister, a massive doping error leaves a teammate literally pissing blood… Dom is thrown back in the saddle – and realises it’s now or never if he ever hopes to be more than a domestique…

The Domestique is being produced by Katie Holly for Blinder Films, with co-producers Jesus Gonzalez-Elvira for Calach Films, and Nicolas Blondeau and Robin Kerremans for Caviar Films.Earlier this year the production received €1,200,000 in support from the Film Fund Luxembourg. The film is also supported by the Irish Film Board.

Through the Screen Flanders economic fund, the Flanders government provides financial support to audiovisual productions that spend part or all of their budgets within the Flanders region. Belgian producers can apply for up to €400,000. Foreign producers can access the fund by co-producing with a Belgian producer who meets the selection criteria. The first call of 2018 ended on 9 March, generating €16.6 million in audiovisual expenditure in the Flanders region.