A film by Hans Buyse and Titus De Voogdt

Thomas, entangled in a break-up, is invited by Louis to join a sea-fishing trip, but finds little support from his friend. In the middle of the sea, they encounter seven boat refugees with engine trouble, putting Louis in a dilemma and disturbing the dynamics between the two differently minded friends.

How it started

When Hans Buyse heard about the first refugee drama at the North Sea in October 2021, he mentioned his idea for a short film to his friend Titus De Voogdt, who has a small fishing boat at the Belgian coast. A few weeks later, they started writing the script.

Creating a screenplay for a short film is not an easy task. Through their mutual critical eye, Hans and Titus formed a robust duo. With abundant feedback from friends and colleagues, the screenplay took shape.

It was immediately clear who the second lead actor next to Titus De Voogdt should be. Bart Hollanders, a fantastic actor, was on board with the story from the beginning and brought substantial value in terms of content. Together with Titus and Hans, he went out to film the first test footage on Titus’s boat, the ‘Leona’.

Test footage July 17, 2022

To realize the film, production houses Leitmotiv and Krater Films (with Maarten D’Hollander and Tim Martens) joined forces. The production turned out to be not so straightforward, as factors beyond our control had to be considered, such as the weather, the waves, and living fish.


Besides Titus and Bart, other roles, such as a female lead and various supporting roles, had to be filled. After a strong audition, Meskerem Mees proved to be the perfect fit for the lead role. For the other supporting roles, we searched pretty much everywhere, from the football pitch over asylum centres to various schools.

How it went

September 23, 2023, marked the start of our challenge. It quickly became clear that we would need luck in the days ahead, as the waves on the first day of shooting did not look promising…

Fun fact!

The boat and many of the props used in the film belong to Titus. He refurbished the boat ‘Leona’ himself, and his technical expertise also came in handy during filming, particularly when encountering challenges, such as the Zodiac ending up submerged underwater and the sudden stalling of the Zodiac’s motor.

Ultimately, we can look back on four fantastic shooting days, thanks to an amazing crew and our talented cast!

How it’s going

After shooting the film, a period of post-production followed. Finally we eagerly awaited the outcome of our film festival submissions.


The editing, grading, and visual effects were fully done and finalized in the editing suite of Leitmotiv. After several different versions, feedback moments, and creative new insights, it was finally time for a picture lock to be established! #postproduction #cut #shortfilm

This sounds GOOOD!

The audio was arranged by audio wizard Jan Van Hende.

Our first film festival

Zodiac, along with twelve other short films, made its premiere at the Ostend Film Festival. With the cast and crew, we went to Ostend to admire the film on the big screen for the first time.

After Ostend we also got nominated at the Brussels Short Film Festival (BSFF). Zodiac competed in the national competition and was screened at Flagey and Vendôme.

We were thrilled to hear that Zodiac won two awards at the BSFF: the Grand Prix and the Be TV Award. This places Zodiac on the Oscars long-list!

Photo by Boris Radermecker and Marc Melkenbeek

The journey of our short film has only just begun, and we look forward to traveling the world with it. Let’s see where it brings us next!

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