Felix Van Groeningen was born in Ghent. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) and graduated in 2000 with a Masters of Audiovisual Arts. His father owned and founded the legendary café Charlatan on the Vlasmarkt in Ghent, which later became the inspiration for his film Belgica (2016).
Van Groeningen made his directorial debut with Steve + Sky (2004), which was an instant success. The film depicts a romance between a drug dealer and a prostitute. Loving relationships in difficult circumstances, poverty and crime are themes that will recur in Van Groeningen's later work. For the soundtrack of this film, he worked together for the first time with the musicians David and Stephen Dewaele (also known as Soulwax and 2manydjs). Steve + Sky won Best Film and Best Composer at the 2004 Joseph Plateau Awards.
The director's breakthrough came with his fourth film: The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012). With a solid cast, including Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh, Van Groeningen tells the story of a bohemian couple that loses their daughter to cancer. With its bluegrass soundtrack, The Broken Circle Breakdown struck a chord with the general public and was even nominated for an Oscar.
For his most recent film, Beautiful Boy (2018), Van Groeningen worked together with Brad Pitt's production company. Rising star Timothée Chalamet depicts a drug-addicted teenager growing up in a wealthy family. None other than Steve Carell took on the role of his father. Beautiful Boy is based on journalist David Sheff's memoir, which recounts his struggle with his son's addiction. Once again, he received lavish praise for his film. Among other things, he was nominated for a Golden Globe.
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