115th session

10 new works join Wallimage’s line-up as it invests €1.2M

Two feature films initiated in Belgium, three arthouse co-productions from France, Spain and Italy, a detective series, two French mainstream films and two very different animated features: the projects chosen by Wallimage’s decentralized Co-Production Council are particularly diverse… but make up a very homogeneous selection.

  • 16.01.2024

To support these projects, the Walloon fund will invest €1.23M for regional expenditure estimated at over €8.99M. This represents a record reinvestment ratio of 731%.

What do all these projects have in common? They will enable numerous Walloon technicians and service providers based in our region to work under excellent conditions on projects of all types, which will showcase their talent on the international stage. The icing on the cake: a new animation studio in Liège will be able to embark on a large-scale mission that will keep it working until June 2025.

The ten projects selected are :

  • Cap Farewell (Iota Production) – drama initiated in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation – €170K
  • Art or Machond? (Artemis Productions) – comedy initiated in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation – for €50K
  • Les reines du drame (Wrong Men North) – comedy-drama – €80K
  • Samia (Tarantula Belgium) – drama – €80K
  • L’Abbesse (Saga Film) – drama – €75K
  • Serial Hunter (Be-Films) – crime series – €100K
  • Ducobu se met au vert (Umedia Production) – family comedy – €100K
  • Moon the Panda (Umedia Production) – exotic ecological adventure family feature – €125K
  • Cystem failure (Beside Productions)-animation – €400K
  • Silex and the city (Left Field Ventures) – animation – €50K

Although Wallimage is now by far the leading national fund for international co-productions, the number of Belgian works submitted to the fund is on the decline. The reason: the often very Brussels-based nature of projects initiated in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. We are therefore delighted to welcome two new titles in this category.

  • Cap Farewell

Cap Farewell is the3rd feature film by Vanja d’Alcantara(Beyond the steppes, Le cœur régulier). It focuses on the character of Toni (Daphné Patakia), who at the age of 24 has just been released from prison, happy to be reunited with her little daughter Anna. But will she be able to resist her attraction to Max (Matteo Simoni), her childhood sweetheart and the man whose freedom she has been deprived of? Iota Production , which is developing the project, has scheduled shooting to take place over 3 weeks in Wallonia, Flanders and the Netherlands. The Walloon team will include the set designer, make-up artist, green manager, assistant directors and production team. Other expenses include rental of machinery (KGS) and camera (Eye-Lite), dressing rooms, scenery and canteen. By necessity of reciprocity, post-production will be Canadian.

  • Art or Machond?

In a very different register, that of zany comedy coupled with an iconoclastic reflection on art, Stefan Liberski (Bunker paradise, Baby balloon, Tokyo fiancée…) will adapt the novel The dilution of the artist by Jean-Philippe Delhomme: Yves Machond leaves his small house in Boitsfort to settle in Etretat, the land of Impressionism. He hoped to find the inspiration he needed to create the major work that would make him a household name. Above all, he meets and falls in love with an eccentric gallery director. Produced by Artemis Productions, De l’art ou du Machond? will feature Benoit Poelvoorde, Camille Cottin, Gustave Kervern, François Damiens and Laurence Bibot – a promising cast. The shoot will be mainly French, with six Walloon technicians. Also on board are Manu Cuisine for cooking, Level9 for on-set SFX and Benuts for digital special effects.

International co-productions can be of many kinds: mainstream comedies, auteur films, series, animation or live-action… This 115th session has enabled us to compose a rather explosive cocktail that embraces all these specificities.

  • The Abbess

Offered by Saga Film, L’Abbesse is a Spanish historical feminist film to be directed by Antonio Chavarrías. The story follows Emma, who, after the death of Count Wilfred in battle with Muslim soldiers, is appointed abbess of a frontier convent in a region devastated by famine and war. The men thought they were sending him off to some godforsaken place. She was to make her mark on her era. Although filming is taking place entirely in Spain, 3 Walloon technicians are taking part. It was the post-production aspect that really won us over, with a soundtrack composed by Malonne resident Yvan Georgiev, and a combination of Walloon studios (Bardaf, Mute&Solo and Studio L’Equipe Wallonie) to process the image and sound. Not forgetting Benuts for the indispensable digital special effects.

  • Drama queens

Each of the projects selected here has its own specific tone. Alexis Langlois’s first feature, Les reines du drame, is bound to be a surprise to any viewer who inadvertently enters the room. Especially if he’s allergic to caustic humor and the LGBTQIA+ universe. All others will enjoy following Mimi Madamour’s career, from her triumph in 2005 in a “The Voice”-style competition to her descent into hell, precipitated by a chaotic love affair with punkette Billie Kolher. This hysterical drama will be narrated by the surprising Youtubeur Steevyshady, who will experience the throes of unrequited fascination and dismay. Jubilant! This “little” dossier, put together by Wrong Men North, is based on highly structuring expenses. In the absence of a major Walloon studio, the film is mainly shot in the Brussels region, but 3 Walloon technicians are involved. Sound postproduction will be handled by Bardaf, Cob Studios and Rene Records. There will also be image postproduction, VFX at Benuts, a canteen and equipment rental at Eye-Lite. The objective is clearly Cannes, and we’d love to see this firecracker programmed at Critics’ Week, a highly innovative space since it was taken in hand by Ava Cahen. Fingers crossed!

  • Samia

Yasemin Samderelli is an Italian filmmaker of Turkish origin living in Germany. His first feature film, Almanya, willkommen in Deutchland, attracted 1.5 million admissions in Germany and an Amazon Prime sale. She’s back with one of the most exciting, well-documented and relevant scripts we’ve read in a long time. Samia is a young girl with a talent for running whom the Somali Olympic Committee has decided to send to the 2012 Beijing Olympics. His under-performance aroused an international wave of sympathy, but the Islamic fundamentalists in power in his country would have none of it. Fiction? Sadly, no. Samia is a moving and exemplary true story, which shows that you don’t become a migrant just for the fun of it, that misfortune befalls everyone, no matter how strong their will and courage, and that this tragedy must be handled with humanity and a vital sense of responsibility. Shooting is scheduled to take place in Kenya and Italy. Thanks to Tarantula Belgique, the Walloon Trojan horse in Italy, a local team has already been confirmed on site, with Florian Berutti as director of photography, his Walloon team and sound engineer Céline Bodson, while Benuts will handle the numerous digital special effects.

  • Serial Hunter

At a time when the format seems to be establishing itself worldwide as the most popular way of telling stories in pictures, the series is gradually disappearing from the proposals made to Wallimage, in favor of a return to prominence of the feature film. The only representative of this trend at this session is Serial Hunter, a thriller with 4 50-minute episodes, starring Eric Cantona and Thiphaine Daviot. The former plays a disgraced former star profiler who finds himself tracking the same killer as a young female homicide detective whose outspoken nature annoys everyone around her. The shoot was 100% Belgian, with 12 days in Wallonia under the direction of Be-Films. and 10 regional technicians in addition to 7 actors in secondary roles, sets, special effects on set, truck rental, electro and machinery at TSF, a canteen in Châtelet, but also rushes management and sound editing at Studio l’Équipe Wallonie, sound effects and some VFX done by… Benuts.

  • Ducobu goes green

Serial Hunter leads us smoothly into mainstream projects, perfectly embodied by the5th installment of Ducobu’s adventures, the3rd directed and co-written by Elie Semoun. Although the young actors change each time, the success is constant, with over a million viewers in France for the first four episodes, and over 40 million cumulative TV viewers for the first three films when broadcast on the small screen. A lot of fun… and substantial revenues for Wallimage thanks to Umedia Production ‘s negotiations with its French partners. The theme of this new opus is very topical: Léonie Gratin sets out to raise Ducobu’s awareness of domestic ecology. To no avail. Garbage sorting? Pfff. Eat less meat? No way! But when he discovers that Greta Thunberg has taken a year’s sabbatical to champion his cause, he steps up to the plate to call a climate strike. All the more reason for the Ducobu mania that is sweeping the younger generation. 17 of the 46 shooting days for Ducobu se met au vert will be located in Wallonia, with 13 regional technicians, including the indestructible Pascal Jasmes and the construction crew. There will also be rentals by Macadamcar and KGS, a canteen organized by Auguste Traiteur, rushes managed by Studio l’Equipe Wallonie, sound editing by Bardaf, sound effects by Cob Studios and special effects by UFX Wallonie under the new direction of Gaël Durant (ex-Mikros Liège).

  • Moon the panda

While Ducobu is a well-known format, Moon the panda is a more exotic adventure, as Gilles de Maistre (Mia et le lion blanc, Le loup et le lion…) takes us to China, where young Tian, off to recharge his batteries with his mother (Alexandra Lamy) at his paternal grandmother’s in the heart of the Sichuan nature reserve, discovers a baby panda. The story of friendship between the boy and the animal (the first images are striking) will develop over the years and give new meaning to Tian’s life. If the film is shot entirely outside France, the production does not qualify for the national tax credit. Gaumont, convinced by its previous experience, suggested to its May-June partner a collaboration focusing on Wallonia, led by Umedia Production. As a result, three Walloons are on the set in China, and all post-production on this future blockbuster will be Walloon, with 12 technicians at the newly refurbished L’Equipe Wallonie studio. 70% of VFX work will be carried out at UFX Wallonie, with 9 Walloon operators based at the Genval offices. Constructive spending, very measured demand and an attractive box-office proposition for a promising film – this is the trifecta that easily brings this Panda to Wallonia.

  • Cystem failure

Is a Wallimage session without animation still conceivable in 2023? Cystem failure, a Norwegian project by Martin Lund, will be largely produced in Wallonia thanks to Beside Productions , which has localized nearly 4 million euros of investment here! The work, involving all stages of production, will last 335 working days, at the Movida studio, Nwave’s Walloon branch operating autonomously here under the leadership of Thierry Tirtiaux (ex-Digital Graphics). 56 people (38 full-time equivalents) will work on this formidable project, which follows Kaja, a young… cell living in the body of a 10-year-old boy. Kaja suffers from not being able to divide like the others and feels rejected. It then wants to mutate to become the cancerous cell it essentially is. Until he became aware of its destructive nature and reconsidered his position. While the graphics are attractive, the subject matter is serious and fascinating, playful in form and instructive in content. It will obviously take three years of patience to see the result on the big screen.

  • Silex and the city

Not all animation projects are behemoths destined to devour Wallimage’s budget single-handedly. The proof is in Silex and the city, a feature film adapted from the capsules broadcast on Arte (5 seasons, 180 episodes) and the successful comic books (9 volumes with Dargaud, one million copies sold). It’s the father of the series, the droll Jul, who will direct it with Jean-Paul Guigue under the aegis of Left Field Ventures, which is in charge of the Belgian co-production. At the rate of one joke per line, the script had us howling with laughter: from an operetta prehistory where everything seems frozen forever, a father and daughter in conflict are propelled into the future. They accidentally bring back… an Ikea “elbow wrench” that sets off all sorts of cataclysmic developments. As if this wacky pitch wasn’t enough, the production has secured a staggering vocal cast: François Hollande, Julie Gayet, Amélie Nothomb, Alex Vizorek, Bruno Solo, Guillaume Gallienne, Frédéric Beigbeder, Léa Salamé, Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Vuillermoz and Stéphane Bern. Waooh! Studios in Liège will handle the layout and animation (46 minutes) for 17 weeks. The budget is tight, as sober graphics and stripped-down animation allow. So are the expenses, but a more-than-reasonable request and a crisp proposal for revenue generation won our support.

The selection of these ten titles is the result of an intense analysis based on economic and ecological criteria, since this aspect is now well implemented in our evaluation. A drastic choice, as 22 projects were submitted to us. Given the available budget, only 45% of applications were accepted, the lowest rate in Wallimage’s history.

This rather cruel percentage is the consequence of a clear increase in the activity of Belgian producers, but also of Wallonia’s increasingly obvious attractiveness. In addition to Wallimageis based on seasoned technicians (of which there are not enough, let it be said) and service providers whose reputation has spread far beyond our borders, whether in sound and image postproduction, animation or the cutting-edge field of VFX.

The deadline for the next session is September 7. Preliminary video discussions with producers who so wish will begin on August 28.