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30 may 2011 - 10:06:24 spacer  
Wallimage Cross Media: a "Creative Wallonia" endeavour
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Wallimage is ten years old, and has a what many qualify as exceptional balance sheet to show for it. The audiovisual industry has known a boom well beyond the first expectations and the production of feature films in Wallonia expanded, bringing the success we all know: all films coproduced by Wallimage which were selected also won at the latest Cannes Festival.

Of course, it is necessary to always move forward and therefore Wallimage decided to go along with the new, promising wave created by Creative Wallonia.

Similar to the two investment lines existing within the framework of Wallimage Coproductions (fiction feature films and animation), we are happy to announce that with the support of the Walloon Region a third form of aid for the sector will be set up. Yearly, a set amount of money will be devoted to encourage working with new image technologies in Wallonia. This programme will be developed under the name Wallimage Cross Media.
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In ten years time, the technological landscape evolved a lot. Today, one of the essential issues is the mastery of digital broadcasting: what will catapult our Walloon enterprises to a leading position on the world market, is their capacity to broadcast their productions.

Of course, films remain the flagship of the audiovisual fleet. Not only in terms of image with the large public, but also when it comes to production budgets. Within the framework of Creative Wallimage, Wallimage will offer a new investment line encouraging film producers to develop cross-media tools for their films, documentaries, fictional or animated series in Wallonia.

This new aid will be divided over two lines of approach: Digital Promotion and Digital Extension. For 2011, both lines will be granted €400,000.


Digital Promotion

When taking a look at the most efficient marketing campaigns for American film, we see that more and more films are released together with, and sometimes even after, an accompanying video game, iPhone application or, at the very least, have their own Facebook page. Why not jump on this bandwagon?

In principle ,every work approved for co-production by the Wallimage fund should be able to apply for extra support which presents itself as a promo cross media development grant. It is called Digital Promotion.

Several angles can be explored: a page on a social network site (which is free to create but a Community Manager must be paid), a 2.0 website (even 3.0), an application for iPhone, iPad or Android, AdverGame (a promotional game with a limited lifespan).

A production house, on condition of clearly identifying their Walloon service providers and justifying their expenses afterwards (cfr. the Wallimage mechanism) will therefore be able to ask a contribution for the launch of one of its creations on a digital medium.


Digital Extension

But that is not all: more and more classic projects now spill over into new digital media. Documentaries invite viewers to deepen the subject on a website or social network. The author can even ask people to contribute to the thought process by sharing their own videos (U.G.C production = Users Generated Contents). Between two episodes, television series keep their characters alive in a virtual world or develop them thanks to specific internet-exclusive "webisodes". Viewers can also become part of the fictional action by looking for clues hidden in their city which further a police investigation conducted in the series (we then speak of "A.R.G." = Augmented Reality Game).

We hope to encourage this kind of experiments via Wallimage Cross Media. It is called Digital Extension.


How does it work?

Each line will work with a specific work method and these will be explained to all interested producers starting this week. For Digital Promotion we will work with calls for projects. Given how new this kind of initiative is, we will only have one session in 2011. The professionals indeed need the time to be able to identify their providers. The concept was revealed by Jean-Claude Marcourt, the responsible minister, at the latest Cannes Festival on Friday 13 May. The deadline for submissions is set to 29 August.

Digital Extension however will most probably be activated for every of the six scheduled investment sessions. It will be open to projects who have been approved during previous sessions or will be reviewed during the current session.

As usual, in both cases it will be the Wallimage Board of Directors which will evaluate the relevance and feasibility of a project as well as the relative amount and structural dimension of the audiovisual expenses slated in Wallonia.


Good to go

Today there are many well suited projects in Wallonia, most Walloon technicians and actors have enough work to live off their passion, enterprises related to the sector were created and developed. Wallimage Cross Media will make it possible for a series of new creative artists to in turn find a place in the spotlight. The entire region should benefit from the positive economic fallout of an emerging sector. The producers in turn will be able to enhance their film’s potential.
What an initiative, isn’t it?
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