The Over the Hill Band: The Movie


THE OVER THE HILL BAND is the latest picture by the producers of the 2008 Cannes Critics’ Week winner MOSCOW, BELGIUM.

THE OVER THE HILL BAND is the story of a seventy year old woman (Marilou Mermans) who used to sing in a girls band when she was much, much younger. After the death of her husband, she decides to go on stage again. She asks her rebel son – down and out R&B musician Sid (Jan Van Looveren) - to help her start a new band with two girlfriends from the old days. Sid would rather drown in the North Sea than sharing the stage with mommy dearest, but in the end he agrees. On one condition: it has to be his music...

THE OVER THE HILL BAND is a dramatic comedy directed by Geoffrey Enthoven (THE ONLY ONE). The screenplay is written by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem (MOSCOW, BELGIUM) and Chris Craps (CRUSADE IN JEANS). Pascal Garnier and Stef Caers wrote swinging RNB versions of some classic pop tunes.

Actors Marilou Mermans and Jan Van Looveren are joined by Lucas Vanden Eynde, Lut Tomsin, Lea Couzin, Barbara Sarafian, Greg Timmermans, Jurgen Delnaet and François Beukelaars in supporting roles.
THE OVER THE HILL BAND was released theatrically in Belgium on August 19th 2009.


“In the movie, Claire, my character, says that sometimes when she looks in the mirror she wonders who's the old bat that’s gaping back at her. Under that layer of old skin, Claire still feels like a girl of seventeen. That’s what THE OVER THE HILL BAND is about,” says Marilou Mermans who, at twenty, mesmerized many young Flemish viewers as the beautiful Lady Isabeau in FABIAN VAN FALLADA, one of the first historical adventure series created by Flemish National Television. Marilou also appeared in major Flemish drama series such as LILI & MARLEEN and FAMILIE. She played the lead in the well received feature film SWEET JAM by Lieven Debrauwer and more recently played supporting roles in CUT LOOSE by Jan Verheyen and the acclaimed drama series VAN VLEES EN BLOED. “Next year I will celebrate my 50th anniversary as an actress. I’m very lucky to be asked to portray such a beautiful woman in THE OVER THE HILL BAND! Looking back, playing Claire was one of the toughest parts I played in my whole career. I had to sing, dance and act, all at the same time. And it’s been… wonderful!”


“I didn’t feel very comfortable about playing the part of Sid. He’s an R&B musician who hit rock bottom, and who wants to look cool and burly. Sid’s character is very close to the television role of ‘Joeri’ that most people in Belgium know, so I made sure to leave out all his ticks and tricks so that Sid could become a genuine guy.” Jan Van Looveren previously starred in the Flemish crime series ZONE STAD and  in drama series such as KAAT & CO and TRIGGER HAPPY. He now enjoys huge popularity as the sweet macho host of the satirical television show M!LF (MAN LIBERATION FRONT). THE OVER THE HILL BAND is his first feature film.  “Sid is a guy who drinks and smokes a lot more than any doctor would recommend. It was challenging to act this role in a subtle way. Smoking in particular has been a hard one. I’ve never even touched a cigarette.”


“I was so nervous about the dancing scenes. Usually I only dance when I’ve had a bit too much to drink, and only in front of my husband (winks). But you would never catch me dancing in public because I cannot distinguish left from right,” jokes Lea Couzin. Most people remember Lea’s title role in MERLINA, a classic detective series for children. In the 70’s, Lea moved to cabaret, and more recently continued her career in Flanders’ most popular sitcom FC DE KAMPIOENEN. THE OVER THE HILL BAND is her first feature film. “On the first day of shooting, the sound guy said that he wanted to record some sound and we all had to be quiet. We all held our breath for a minute, so the sound he actually recorded was silence. After a very intense minute he said he was ready and he, very seriously, thanked us all. I was perplexed. And you know what? He did that every single day of the shoot!” She laughs. “I have learnt so much just by being on that film-set. Because as you grow older, you realize there is a lot that you know nothing about.”

“Director Geoffrey Enthoven told me he had the perfect role for me: that of an old, dried-out church mouse,” jokes Lut. “I had worked with Geoffrey before on the Flemish drama series WITTEKERKE. He’s great with actors and a very sweet guy. So I knew I shouldn’t take his words too literally. One of the things I liked about THE OVER THE HILL BAND is that we had to speak in that very special Antwerp dialect. I was never allowed to do so on screen before.” THE OVER THE HILL BAND was shot in the middle of winter, and that’s something Lut will not easily forget. “When we were shooting the graveyard scene, we had to wait in the cold for hours. It was minus 5° Celsius. I was sure we wouldn’t live to tell.”


“Even during rehearsals I knew that THE OVER THE HILL BAND would be a good picture. I was also pleasantly surprised when I heard the three leading ladies sing. It was clear that they had been rehearsing for months,” says Lucas Van Den Eynde who played the title role in the Flemish musical DAENS. Lucas Van den Eynde is a well known television actor who made fame in popular comedy shows MORGEN MAANDAG and HET EILAND. Lucas also had leading roles in the drama series CONGO, ASPE and VAN VLEES EN BLOED.  “In THE OVER THE HILL BAND, I play the role of Claire’s oldest son who can’t stand his young, irresponsible brother Sid. In one scene, an argument between the two brothers turns into a real fight. That was the most difficult scene I had to play. We had a stunt coordinator on the set who made sure that our fight looked very realistic but also that we would go home without major injuries”.

“I had never played a role in Flemish before,” says French speaking actor Michel Israël, “and I was so scared that someone would tell me afterwards: look here, Michel, you weren’t too bad but nevertheless we had your voice dubbed by another actor. Luckily that didn’t happen. During rehearsal, Geoffrey told me that he wanted to include jokes about my French speaking background in the movie.” Michel Israël is an Italian born in Congo, Africa, and lives in Brussels. He performed in a wide range of plays and feature films including UN SECRET by French director Claude Miller. In THE OVER THE HILL BAND, Michel plays the womanizing church organ player Artuur, who joins Claire’s new band. “I couldn’t play the piano when we started shooting. So prior to each piano scene, musician Stef Caers would show me how to move my fingers. In the end I did quite well, but I wouldn’t dare to say that I’m ready to participate in next year’s Queen Elisabeth piano contest (grins).”


Other Credits



Geoffrey Enthoven (1974) is a Ghent, Belgium KASK academy graduate. His graduation project DE AANSPREKER with Bert André received several awards and was shown in many countries. In 1999, he started the production company Fobic Films with partner Mariano Vanhoof. Their first feature film, CHILDREN OF LOVE (2001) was awarded the Ghent Film Festival Audience Award. Geoffrey produced the documentary A VOICE ON WINGS, and the short film A MESSAGE FROM OUTER SPACE. In 2006, Geoffrey directed his second feature film THE ONLY ONE written by Jaak Boon with octogenarian actor Nand Buyl as a cranky old man who refuses to give up his role in society. The film enraptured Belgian critics who awarded it their annual (André Cavens) Film Critics Award. His third feature HAPPY TOGETHER (2007) was a doom-laden tragedy on a family man who loses his job and runs out of options. Geoffrey also directed dozens of episodes of the massively popular Flemish drama novella SARA.

SCreenwriter and producer

Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem (°1963) worked as a translator, movie distribution press and promotion manager, TV reporter and journalist, before founding movie production company “A Private View” in 1994.  He produced feature films THE BALL, SCIENCE FICTION, LONG WEEKEND, A PERFECT MATCH and (Cannes Critics’ Week winner) MOSCOW, BELGIUM. Together with Chris Craps he wrote the screenplays of THE BALL, SCIENCE FICTION and CRUSADE IN JEANS which won the national Dutch ‘Golden Calf’ Award for Best Dutch Feature Film in 2007. THE OVER THE HILL BAND is their 4th joint screenplay. Jean-Claude signed with Pierre De Clercq for the crowd pleasing A PERFECT MATCH, directed by Miel van Hoogenbemt. With Pat van Beirs, he wrote MOSCOW, BELGIUM which was directed by Christophe van Rompaey and went on to win 15 national and international awards, including an Award for Best Screenplay at the 2008 Cannes Critics’ Week. Jean-Claude and Pat also wrote an acclaimed historical novel and a graphic novel series.


Chris Craps (°1960) is a Biology, Audiovisual Communication and Journalism graduate. For many years now, he is in charge of the film information pages of Belgian dailies Gazet van Antwerpen, Het Belang van Limburg and Metro. Chris co-wrote the screenplays of Flemish animation series ATOMIUM and TOM & TIM for Flemish national television.  With Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem, Chris scripted feature film THE BALL. Since then, Chris and Jean-Claude wrote the original screenplay of SCIENCE FICTION (directed by Dany Deprez) and adapted Thea Beckman’s classic time travel novel CRUSADE IN JEANS into a highly successful feature directed by Ben Sombogaart.


Dries Phlypo (°1977) started his movie career as a projectionist in Bruges arthouse theatre LUMIERE, for which he also programmed the children’s movie section “Lessons in the dark’. Dries joined A Private View in 2004 and was Line Producer on LONG WEEKEND, A PERFECT MATCH and MOSCOW, BELGIUM. Dries Phlypo has produced three shorts: ROMANCE by Douglas Boswell (2005), MOMENT DE GLOIRE by Hendrik Moonen (2006) and Academy Award nominee TANGHI ARGENTINI by Guido Thys (2007).

Director of photography

Gerd Schelfhout is a regular crew member on Director Geoffrey Enthoven’s pictures. He was Director of Photography on CHILDREN OF LOVE, THE ONLY ONE and HAPPY TOGETHER. He recently lensed Guy Goossens’ LIMO.


Festival Calendar

Montreal World Film Festival
August 27 - September 7, 2009

Internationales Filmfestival
November 5 - 15, 2009