François Troukens is a Belgian media personality. A writer-director, but also a comic strip writer and host of a TV magazine focusing on legal matters. A former underworld figure, since his release from jail he has embarked upon a large-scale reflection on the prison world and opportunities for rehabilitation via his charity group Chrysalibre.
The former gangster is now bringing his experience and passion for writing to the direction of his films.
But financial problems prevented him from making this dream come true. He found work in security and became a bodyguard for political and financial personalities. When...
François Troukens had a childhood marked by literature and the stories that his mother read to him. At an early age he was fascinated by the works of Flaubert, Rimbaud's imaginary world and Simenon's skill with narrative, and decided to make writing his profession. He began artistic studies, turned to photography and finally dreamt of becoming a special correspondent.
But financial problems prevented him from making this dream come true. He found work in security and became a bodyguard for political and financial personalities. When he lost his job following his employer's fraudulent bankruptcy, he turned against the system and foresaw possibilities of getting rich easily. He decided to become a bullion van driver and carried out a first hold-up that put him behind bars in 1993. In prison, he entered what he himself calls "the university of crime" and frequented underworld figures.
He was released in 1995 with a certain amount of criminal expertise and once again launched attacks on bullion vans. Arrested and accused of being behind a violent attack that he never committed, he escaped and went on the run in Venezuela, the USA, but also Africa. On his return to Europe, he lived in Italy, Corsica, Hungary, England, and finally in the south of France. While on the run, he founded a publishing firm in Luxembourg with forged papers (Clever Editions) and began to write for the cinema following his encounter with the director José Giovanni (Deux hommes dans la ville).
However, the law caught up with him in Paris in 2004 after a frantic chase through the City of Light. He was then imprisoned at La Santé, when he was given the possibility of following a degree course in modern literature at the Sorbonne from his prison cell. François Troukens then decided to go straight to escape solely through his studies.
He was nonetheless obliged to interrupt them when he was extradited to Belgium and sentenced to a total of 19 years in jail.
During this time, François Troukens returned to writing and his first love. Writing for himself, but also for others by becoming a public writer for his fellow prisoners. He also completed his studies with a higher degree ineducational psychology and at the same time followed classes in restoration. His passion for the world of cinema increased as he participated in short films in French and Belgian prisons with various personalities from the film world involved in this kind of project.
On his release in 2010, after 10 years in jail, he continued to write while fighting for a better approach to the process of rehabilitation for prisoners.
François Troukens is currently developing screenplays from comic strips, notably with Les Éditions du Lombard, writing his memoirs that will be published by Les Editions du Moment, and writing his first feature film screenplay.
Hired by RTL, he became a radio commentator for the show On refait le Monde alongside Patrick Weber in February 2015.
A few months later, he began his TV career when he was asked to host the judicial magazine Un Crime Parfait, a weekly programme on RTL-TVI.
As a brief but unfortunate parenthesis in this new life, in 2014, François Troukens had to return to jail for 7 months. He was accused, within the framework of his film project, of meeting JoeyStarr, the singer (NTM) and actor (POLICE by Maïwenn) who also had a series of problems with the law. Since the conditions of the former gangster's release specified that he could not frequent former prisoners, his parole was suspended.
While behind bars, he also completed the screenplay of his feature film, TUEURS. The latter, largely based on his personal experience, focuses on the issue of the excessive media attention given to organized crime and its consequences with the case of the Brabant killers as its background.
In this film, we follow the stormy experiences of Frank Valken, an experienced robber who, while carrying out a major hold-up, sees a commando force of killers step into action and execute all the witnesses. Among the dead is the magistrate investigating the Mad Killers case. 30 years on they seem to be back. Arrested with the haul and presumed guilty by the media, Frank's only solution is to escape to attempt to prove his innocence...
François Troukens is currently developing his film TUEURS with Versus Production and will co-direct it in 2016 with Jean-François Hensgens, director of photography notably on the most recent films by Joachim Lafosse.