New Feature Documentary Film Announced With Support From DeFeet and Repreve
Hildebran, NC, March 30, 2023
Producer Shane Cooper and director Paul Willerton have teamed up to create a new feature-length documentary film, Flandrien. The film is set in the Flanders region of Belgium and explores the past, present, and future of cycling and local culture. The Tour of Flanders itself plays a starring role, as well as some of the riders who have been awarded the esteemed title of being a true “Flandrien.”
The pair previously worked on various films, including Adventures of the Graveled High Rouleur and The Bottle Runner, whose cast includes Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, before deciding to embark on the documentary in Belgium. “This film is a celebration of all that Flanders offers, and attempts to embody what the Flandrien spirit is about,” said Cooper. Early in his cycling career, Willerton lived in Kortrijk, Belgium as a teammate of LeMond on the French Z team. “Returning to Flanders to do this film caps nearly 40 years of history I have there,” said Willerton, adding, “It’s been an honor to work on this project and showcase the wonders of the area for all to see.”
The official trailer for the film will be launched on March 30th, three days prior to the 2023 edition of the Tour of Flanders. The film will make its debut in late Spring through various film festivals. “This is the renaissance period of filmmaking, and cycling is a beneficiary,” said Willerton. He continued, “When I discovered the sport in the early '80s, it wasn’t possible to watch the Tour of Flanders from the United States. You had to wait weeks or months and have the right connections to get a copy of a full-color European cycling magazine. Seeing those still images of riders scrambling up the Koppenberg and attacking the Mur de Grammont, you could only imagine what was happening there. I’m grateful to now be part of a film about Flanders.”
Perhaps the biggest change to happen to cycling in Flanders in recent years has been the arrival of world-class women’s racing. “It’s just awesome to have women in the Tour of Flanders and a growing number of major events,” says Cooper. “Everyone who watches the women race comes to a similar conclusion: this racing can be even more captivating to watch. It’s thrilling, to say the least, and they absolutely carry the Flandrien spirit within them.”
“Young riders from every country eventually want to test themselves in Flanders,” says Cooper. “It’s natural to want to do that. In addition to a rich cycling culture, Flanders has so much to offer non-racers and non-riders. Flandrien celebrates the history of the people and the local culture, and we hope viewers are captured by the timeless appeal of this incredible community.” The soundtrack for Flandrien includes music by Michael Ward and School of Fish, Triggerfinger, and Pendulum. Support for Flandrien was provided by DeFeet and Repreve with special help from KOERS Museum, Cycling in Flanders, and The Flandrien Hotel. The trailer for Flandrien can be viewed at flandrienfilm.com and on YouTube.