Original Title: Vlasman
a creative documentary by Jan Lapeire
2009, single documentary 72’, Dutch-French spoken

Flaxman awarded Best Belgian Documentary at DOCVILLE in Leuven (B)



Flaxman had its Belgian opening night on December 16th, 2009, in Budascoop, Kortrijk, B. It was followed by a theatrical release in Budascoop during two following weeks and hit a successful numbers of viewers. As a result the film was back on the program during February. To share the theatre experience with a bigger audience, we are actually co-operation with different cinema’s in Flanders. Please return for updates or become a VLASMAN fan on facebook.



Two old brothers, somewhere between France & Flanders, between the 20th & 21st century, are trying to get rich growing flax. They are hard and hardworking men.
Flaxmen is the story of a family of flax growers in Wevelgem, Flanders, as told by Walter, the eldest of the Devos clan. Walter, who has passed his seventieth birthday, has worked since his youth at the family’s flax mill. Flax is his whole life.

Living in post-industrial Flanders as if time stood still. Nothing ever seems to change in the pre-war dark and dusty mill. Indifferent to time, they strictly stick to the inexorable routine of working seven days a week. While the brothers try to ignore the changing world around them, their rural village transforms and suburbia closes them in.

Flax cultivation was crucial to the development of these regions and it shaped their identity, but today almost all of the flax is exported. Consequently, the flaxmen are confronted with the macroeconomic laws that govern their industry too: modernisation and globalisation. As in other sectors, the Chinese have entered the fray.

And there are more clouds on the horizon. In the past, the brothers always pretended to be deaf to the subject of environmental licences. But that time is gone. The local authorities want to shut down the flaxmill. Walter’s habitat is in danger of being destroyed. Now everything is going to change. The family is put into crisis. Still there is hope. The son of the youngest brother wants to continue the business. Will the flaxmen adapt or disappear ?


in collaboration with: VRT Canvas, Docaddict vzw
supported by: Flanders Audiovisual Fund, community of Wevelgem, Province of West Flanders, city of Kortrijk and the Flax museum
with distribution support by Promotiecentrum voor het Vlas vzw, Cera, Fedustria, Algemeen Belgisch Vlasverbond vzw

On the director & crew

Director Jan Lapiere graduated in Television Journalism at the Flemish Film Academy in Brussels in 1987. Soon after Jan Lapeire was one of the founding partner of Associate Directors. Between 1987 and 1993 he made several documentaries on aviation. Jan worked on a series of documentaries for an NGO in South-Amercia and Africa.
In his spare time he directed several short experimental and video-art films.
During 2006 Jan took part in the Seminar “Ecriture Documentaire” of the regional film fund of Nord-Pas de Calais CRRAV, in which Flaxman was initiated.
Jan is member of the Jury for the audiovisual section of the prestigious Dexia Press Awards in Belgium.

During the production of Flaxman, Jan was assisted by Wim Van Laere (additional camera), Stijn Wastyn (sound), Kristof Sadones (sound) and Leen Anthonissen (editing) among others.
Executive production of Flaxman by Bram Crols and Mark Daems.

Buy your DVD

Flaxman has been released on DVD with Dutch – English – French subtitle selection. If you would like to place your order, please contact us or transfer 19,95€ (transport costs within EU included) to the account with IBAN n° BE38 0688 9393 7172 and BIC GKCCBEBB, with your delivery address and ‘DVD Vlasman’ mentioned.

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