This second session of the year was the most competitive in the history of Wallimage, with nearly 2.4 million euros requested from the fund, through 16 projects. Our investment wheel having its limits, the Decentralized Council of Co-productions met on Monday, April 24 and was able to decide to support only 7 of the 16 files submitted during this second session of 2023. That’s a 47.3% acceptance rate, the lowest in our history. However, this does not mean that we are negative! These projects will generate huge expenditures in Wallonia and are exactly what we are looking for to stimulate the regional economy.
FOUR ANIMATION PROJECTS
Brought to you by NextFrames Media, the Billy The Hamster Cowboy series will have 52 episodes of 11 minutes each for 4/8 year olds. For its second presentation here, the production has increased its Walloon work by 1.2 million for a total of more than 3.7 million euros offering the fund a reinvestment ratio of more than 1000%. NextFrames Media Studio, recently installed in La Hulpe, is now working on this project. The task assigned to the young Walloon studio includes the animation of 26 episodes for 18 artists and the compositing of the whole series for 13 other people.
Second passage also for nWave with its project The Inseparables, 4th film of the Walloon Jérémie Degruson, co-director of the fabulous “Le Manoir magique”, “Bigfoot Junior” and “Bigfoot Family”. The file was originally presented to us in 2022 and Wallimage had made some important requests which have all been met since. nWave has doubled our access to revenues and opened a studio in Liege with part of the former Digital Graphics team, still under the leadership of Thierry Tirtiaux. 6 animators are already working on this feature film. Senior Dreamwall artists also collaborated on the project for six weeks through an agreement between the two studios. These expenses are in addition to the 24 Walloon technicians who have been working in the Brussels studio since the beginning of the film’s development. In all, more than 2 million euros will be invested in Wallonia for this blockbuster with an international vocation.
In the midst of such a surge, Belvision could not stay in the stands. His next co-production will be Les Légendaires, the first feature film of Pan Animation, the brand new little sister of the European Pan, which tackles a new genre in its line-up. The relationship between Pan and Belvision was born around the Largo Winch movie adaptations, projects with which Wallimage has always been associated. They find a practical concretization here since Dreamwall will be in charge of 33% of the 3D animation, special effects on clothes and modeling and texturing of sets and accessories for a total of more than 1.9 million euros. This production will occupy 23.8 full-time equivalents in Wallonia, including 6 managerial positions in the Marcinelle studios, i.e. 5247 man-days over a period of 21 months. The major specificity of this classy adaptation of a comic book series very popular with young people is that it is made using the Unreal engine, which Dreamwall will integrate into its work for the first time by recruiting specialists who are very attracted by the adventure. Directed by Frenchman Guillaume Ivernel (Chasseur de dragons, Lucky Luke), Les Légendaires is an ambitious feature with strong international potential.
Behind each project selected by Wallimage, there is obviously an industrial development issue for the region. The little mouse, a 45-minute virtual reality animation proposed by Stacka, will allow The Pack Wallonia studio, based in Mons, to employ 8 people for a total of 794 man-days. With half the team made up of real-time specialists, the studio has even become a leader in the production of this Franco-Belgian Christmas tale, which is sure to mesmerize even the youngest fans.
THREE LIVE PROJECTS
Three “live” projects also managed to make it to the Wallimage line-up.
Artemis Productions has brought us season 2 of Pandora, condensed into 6 episodes of 52 minutes which seems to become the new European standard. Vania Leturq, Savina Dellicour and Anne Coesens are still at the helm of this sequel which will narrate the fight between Claire, the judge and Mark, the populist politician while a whistleblower is arrested. The series is obviously still very much a Brussels affair, with only 10% of Belgian spending in Wallonia, but a very small demand was able to compensate for this handicap and squeeze Pandora into an envelope that was small in relation to the sums requested. In total, nearly 200,000 euros will be spent on staff salaries. In addition, there is a canteen, machinery rental from KGS and some post-production from Bardaf and Benuts. Clever!
Christmas Carole is the first project developed by Belga Studios (not to be confused with Beside, now independent) that will go into production. This Christmas film, intended to appeal to a very wide audience, revolves around the meeting of two generations that almost everything opposes and that only a few festive events (such as a New Year’s Eve) can bring together. Directed by Jeanne Gottesdiener, this comedy will bring together Didier Bourdon, Noémie Lvovsky and Christophe Montenez for a 35-day shoot in Wallonia. 40 technicians who will just leave the Schlitter set, also supported by Wallimage, will monopolize a little more than 900,000 euros, while the post-production will be French. A little rent, a green manager and a composer complete the Walloon expenses of this file which calls for others in the months to come.
Everyone (or almost everyone) knows Saint-Exupéry, the pilot, the writer, the father of Night Flight and The Little Prince. This Saint Ex, directed by Argentinian director Pablo Agüero and co-produced in Belgium by Frakas Productions, is sure to entice moviegoers, especially as its cast smacks of perfection, starring Louis Garrel as Antoine, Vincent Cassel as Guillaumet and Diane Kruger as Noëlle. This adventure film tinged with slightly surreal poetry is not a biopic. It tells an episode of the life of the pilot-writer engaged in Argentina in the air transport of mail. However, the shooting will be mainly in Paris. Yes, but in studio on green backgrounds. Lites will also host the team for three days in its impressive pool. Some of the digital special effects will be handled by Benuts, while sound postproduction will be shared between Bardaf, Dame Blanche and Studio l’Equipe in Rosières.
Since the beginning of this year, we have noticed a strong trend in our funding sessions: a massive influx of great animation projects. In January, we received seven, and five more on our second call. And the results of this session show that these animation projects fully meet the economic objectives of Wallimage and often reach the top of the ranking. This is great news because Wallonia has many specialized studios that need ambitious projects to feed their pipeline and secure employment for their artists, while advancing them through the experience. But producers of live action projects can rest assured that Wallimage wants to keep a balance between Live Action and Animation and will be careful to adapt its analyses if the dominance of animation is confirmed in the long term.
The submission of the next Wallimage session is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, BUT BEWARE: due to our participation in the Annecy Festival, the deadline for all animation submissions is advanced to June 1. After this date, it will be impossible to submit a project in this category on our platform.