VUB research premieres at DOCVILLE film festival

VUB research premieres at DOCVILLE film festival

Documentaries Testerep and Coral City to be screened at opening night of ScienceVillee


The opening night of ScienceVille, the science programme within the international documentary film festival DOCVILLE, will take place on 21 March. The evening will include the premieres of Testerep and Coral City, both based on VUB research. This illustrates the rise of cinematographic science documentaries in Flanders’ film landscape.

DOCVILLE is Belgium’s largest and most important documentary festival, with a strong focus on domestic and international auteur documentaries. For its 20th edition, the festival is building on the success of its ScienceVille programme, which showcases science-based films. Last year, ScienceVille launched the Science Pitch initiative, which gave researchers the chance to work with a filmmaker. The results will be presented at this year’s festival: they include two documentaries Coral City and Testerep, featuring research and researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. ​

Coral City

Coral City, directed by Charlotte De Cort and Camille Ghekiere, puts the spotlight on VUB oceanographer Marc Kochzius. PhD student Kushlani Dissanayake undertook an underwater expedition with Kochzius and his research team, to study the migration patterns of corals in the waters around her home country of Sri Lanka. They gathered DNA samples and other essential data to investigate the distribution patterns of corals and their larvae. Inspired by her experience as a mother, Dissanayake sought scientific solutions to ensure the survival of fragile coral reefs.

“This underwater paradise with its thousands of colourful fish, corals and giant mussels is threatened by climate change, pollution and overfishing,” says Professor Kochzius. “But I remain optimistic. Can we save the coral reefs? Yes, we absolutely can!”


The second documentary, directed by Vincent Langouche, highlights the research of Professor Soetkin Vervust. Testerep was a peninsula that lay off the coast of Ostend until the Middle Ages and was eventually swallowed by the sea. Based on the peninsula, the documentary looks at how humans view and study the world.

“The Testerep research project combines a wide range of types of data collection and analysis, from our own eyes and hands through excavations to technological extensions for our senses through lidar, soundwaves and magnetic waves,” says Professor Vervust. “The film makes the link between humans and technology, past and future.”

Tickets are available from the DOCVILLE website.

Trailer Testerep:


  • 19.45 – Doors open
  • 20.00 – ScienceVille opening begins
    • Presentation of ScienceVille, interview with festival director Frank Moens
    • Screening #1 – Md
      • 2024, Netherlands, 17 min
      • Director: Sara Kolster / Researcher: Stephanie Wehner
    • Short documentary about QuBits computing
      • Short Q&A with director and producer of Moonshot Mission
    • Screening Testerep
      • 2024, Belgium, 15 min
      • Introduction in interview form with VUB vice-rector for Research Pieter Ballon and festival director Frank Moens
      • Short Q&A with director Vincent Langouche and researcher Soetkin Vervust
    • Screening Coral City
      • 2024, Belgium, 21 min
      • Short Q&A with directors Charlotte De Cort and Camille Ghekiere and researcher Marc Kochzius
  • 21.30 – Closing words
  • 21.40 – Reception
  • 23.00 – Close

Presentation: Jacotte Brokken


Thursday 21 March, 20.00
​Kinepolis Leuven, Bondgenotenlaan 145/149, 3000 Leuven


Eline Livémont





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