Production, writing, speaking

  • Development and production of films, documentaries and corporate videos
  • Research
  • Writing and editing
  • Conference facilitation and speaking
  • Johan Ral
  • Johan's passion for music and film go hand in hand. In his teens, he made his first films on Super 8mm and started writing and performing his songs.

    Professionally, this resulted in his work as a journalist for the independent rock magazine Riff - as a producer, reporter and anchor-man with the Flemish public radio and television – and later as a consultant and producer of corporate videos.

    Since 1989, Johan has been researching and writing about the history of popular music, particularly of the Sixties, The Beatles and Eric Clapton. He is a regular contributor to, among others, Radio 1 (VRT) and Classic 21 (RTBF). Over the years he has met and interviewed many singers, songwriters, musicians and producers -- from Paul McCartney, George Harrison, George Martin, Ray Davies, Mark Knopfler, Paul Simon, Donovan, Arlo Guthrie, Roger McGuinn, Klaus Voormann, Brian Wilson, Justin Hayward, Yoko Ono and Françoise Hardy to Melina Mercouri, Mikis Theodorakis, Salvatore Adamo and Ravi Shankar.

    Johan is the co-author, with Jos Bijnens, of A History of EMI in Belgium - Including a Complete Belgian Beatles Discography, with a Foreword by Salvatore Adamo (EMI Belgium, 1997). In March 2002, he founded The Belgian Beatles Society, for which he produced a DVD+CD set of Paul McCartney's interviews for Flemish Public Radio and Television.

    In 2006, Johan produced the deluxe DVD+CD From the sitar to the guitar, featuring Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar.

    October 2014 sees the publication of Ancienne Belgique – Een muzikale geschiedenis, in which Johan tells the fascinating history of the legendary concert hall in Brussels, from the 1930s until today.

  • Betty Mellaerts
  • Betty Mellaerts is a writer and journalist.

    From 1979 to 1999 Betty was a presenter, talk show host and journalist for Flemish public radio and television, notably for radio programmes such as Het Vermoeden (1982 - 1991) and Levende Lijven (1996 - 1999) and the cultural magazine Kunstzaken on television.

    As of 1999, the Flemish daily De Morgen regularly published her in-depth 'portraits' of interviewees ranging from politicians, CEO's and athletes to artists, writers, actors and musicians. A selection of these interviews have been collected in three volumes: Vurige tongen (2001), Vaders zijn zonen (2002) and Winnaars van de tijd (2005).

    Betty is also the author of Vrouw (2003): ten moving portraits of women over 40 years old, illustrated with photographs by Lieve Blancquaert.

    Also in 2003, Betty conceived and hosted a series of 13 television programmes on Canvas, the cultural second channel of the Flemish public broadcasting company: Confidenties in de Provence, each featuring two guests from totally different backgrounds.

    Furthermore, she is at the heart of projects combining literature and her passion for music, such as the Viva!Opera project, a programme of opera arias performed by singers of the Théâtre de La Monnaie in Brussels.

    In 2005, Betty translated the theatre play Le beau voyage by Daniel Boulanger for Johny Voners and Janine Bischops, directed by Francis Michel Besson.

    In March 2006, she published Kinderen van de weg, a collection of conversations with nine children who have been the victim of a traffic accident, illustrated with photographs by Stephan Vanfleteren.

    In 2007 and 2008, Betty performed on stage with her adaptation of Nina Berberova's short story The Accompanist, with Russian pianist Veronika Iltchenko.

    April 2007 saw the premiere, at 't Arsenaal, of her first play: Nachtzusters, of which an audiobook is published in 2012.

    In 2008, Betty published Vriendinnen, about friendship between women.

    In 2010, Betty adapted Marie-Paule Meert's Quand tu seras guérie nous irons au sommet de l'Empire State Building in Dutch.

    In Adela & Helena, published in 2013, on the basis of testimonies, letters and archives, Betty tells the odyssey of two women against the backdrop of World Wars I and II, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the war in Indonesia (1945-1949).

    Finally, from 2002 to 2010, Betty was a Board member of Stichting Lezen Vlaanderen.