A 108th session in the air

  • 25.02.2022

The cinema can be only entertaining, but it also very often seizes burning subjects to (try to) shake the consciences. This is once again demonstrated in this session, which is led by three feature films that deal with the plight of migrants and climate change in a straightforward manner. But far from turning them into self-righteous pensums, the scriptwriters have built breathtaking works, full of suspense, that Belgian producers have managed to localize (at least in part) in Wallonia. This was a godsend for the decentralized Wallimage council, which met online on Friday, February 18, and was spoiled for choice when it came to identifying the most profitable audiovisual investments for the region.



The Italian sector



To welcome in its line-up the immense Italian director Matteo Garrone is obviously an honor, but it would not have been possible without the work carried out by Joseph Roushop in Italy since a few years. A work recognized by the transalpine professionals which allows Tarantula to multiply the contacts beyond the Alps on the canvas of co-production always very promising for Wallonia. For Io Capitano, which tells the incredible odyssey of two young Senegalese to Italy (filming between Senegal, Morocco and the Italian coast), Tarantula gathered a team of eight Walloons, including seven heads of post. On the set, they will take care of the SFX (Jean-Christophe Bourgeois and his company FX Factory) while MPC Liège will realize 60% of the VFX for a minimum amount of 800 K.

By a (not so) curious coincidence of calendar, Joseph Roushop always, but under Gapbusters banner this time, also proposed us La Guardia which is in some way the scriptural continuation of Io Capitano. Here we follow Sara, a guard in an Italian detention center for… migrants. This 37-year-old woman, who has made indifference a weapon that allows her to go through life without too many hitches, is going to be forced, almost in spite of herself, to take care of a Syrian girl. Little by little, in defiance of her obligations and of the law itself, she will find a part of humanity that she did not suspect. This Italian-German-Belgian co-production spends less money in Wallonia than the other Liège file… but it focuses on very profitable jobs. Sixteen Walloon technicians (including a make-up team) will participate in the shooting which will take place in Italy, Austria and Germany. The sound sector will be Walloon with a post production planned at Bardaf, Cob Studio and Mute and solo. Benuts will take care of the VFX and Genval-les-Dames will take care of the color grading. Contrary to popular belief, a project with expenses barely above our floor can qualify with flying colors.

Eau Forte plunges us into another hot topic… hot. Guillaume Canet will play Michal who tries with his daughter and his ex-wife to escape from acid rain that kills humans and animals, destroys the flora and attacks all constructions. A strong theme that Just Philippot, revealed by La Nuée (to be seen on Netflix), treats with mastery, by the small end of the spyglass. About ten days of shooting are planned in Wallonia, notably for a key scene of the film on a bridge in Visé with some Walloon actors, including the excellent Pierre Olivier. Thanks to Umedia, which co-produces with us, there will be ten local people on the set and five in post-production. The electrical equipment and machinery will be rented from KGS, while Genval-les-Dames will take care of the sound effects and Digital District Wallonie, based in Wavre, will do 20% of the special effects in partnership with its French brother.



The Arcana of the series



In addition to these three international dramas, this 108th funding session allowed Wallimage to support three projects classified in the “series” category, even if one of them is only composed of two 45-minute episodes and therefore looks like a feature film.

Caméra Café, 20 years already (it’s all in the title), will take us back to the famous coffee machine where Hervé and Jean-Claude (Bruno Solo and Yvan le Bolloch) have multiplied their antics during 570 euphoric capsules broadcasted in the early 2000s on M6 and Club RTL. At the time, the two losers imagined becoming rich and famous, but life decided otherwise. What went wrong? This is what they will try to discover by looking back on twenty years of hardship. Thanks to BelgaThe filming will take place in a Brussels studio and, for one day only, on location in Wallonia with 32 technicians, including a decorating team supported by the L’Entrepool workshop, which comes from the performing arts and will reconstruct the original offices, revised, patinated and corrected over time. In addition to this, we rented equipment, did VFX at Benuts, ran the canteen, and did sound and image postproduction. Thomas Rentier, discovered on Spaceboy, will be the Walloon director of the project. In the end, a rather copious dossier with personnel expenses representing 55% of investments in Wallonia. Not bad at all.

Arcana marks the return to Wallimage of Diana Elbaum with her new company Beluga Tree. These eight episodes will plunge us into the 90’s, in the heart of a city stricken by the closure of a large steel factory. The social tensions are all the more exacerbated because here everyone knows everyone and two years after the death of the director’s son, a teenager disappears. Daughter of a former worker, she was also the best friend of the deceased. Michelangelo Marchese and Lara Hubinont are among the cast members of this series directed by a female duo composed of Sarah Hirtt and Michèle Jacob (co-writer with Benjamin Dessy). On the 65 days of shooting, 25 will be located in Wallonia with a team of 30 regional in addition to the rental of equipment at Eyelite, post-production sound, calibration and mastering scheduled at the studio team Wallonia. The VFX will be made at Benuts.

For its fourth season, Les Rivières Pourpres will again adopt its famous Franco-Belgian division with two stories (four episodes) filmed in each country. Adapted from Jean-Christophe Grangé’s universe by scriptwriters who try to preserve his style and obsessions, the four Belgian episodes that Wallimage will support will generate 42 days of shooting (mostly in Wallonia), for 19 technicians. The rental of the camera, the machinery and the electrical equipment at KGS, the rental of the sets, the bus for carpooling (Bus2be), the dressing rooms at Macadam Car, the costumes at Tigreville represent important expenses, further boosted by SFX imagined by FX Factory, a Walloon catering company, the processing of the rushes and the image conformation at Equipe Wallonie as well as the sound effects at Genval-les-Dames and a good half of the VFX at UFX Wallonie at Genval. A copious menu proposed by Umedia.



Adventures and ecology


To this already impressive list of winners, we have added two documentaries and a VR project.

Proposed by Sioux Productions, which is asking us for the first time, Nanok will take us across Greenland by ski, sea kayak and climbing, following an unassisted expedition intended to push back the limits of the possible… and to collect scientific data. At the helm of this documentary is Xavier Ziomek, already at the helm of two seasons of Han and Antarctic Rangers, works broadcast on RTBF. This 52 minutes film will be programmed on Tipik. It will also be divided into five episodes for Auvio and preceded by a series of capsules published on social networks to tease the evening. The entire team that will accompany the Brussels director is Walloon and the post-production will be done in Genval-les-Dames.

We are also in known territory with the team of Wallonie Sauvage who comes back for a third part again produced by Taka (Hugo Deghilage). The broadcasts of the first two films on RTL (edited into a TV program) attracted 308,086 and 236,800 viewers respectively. A nice success for this production of enthusiasts that required hundreds of days of tracking to obtain unpublished images. Here, we will discover the precious and fragile ecosystem that has been created in and around the old canals of Hainaut, demonstrating the tremendous resilience of nature and its incredible process of reclaiming these ancient man-made waterways. The filming is obviously 100% regional, as is the entire small team led by directors Robert Henno and Jean-Christophe Grignard.

The last file approved by the decentralized council presiding over the decisions of Wallimage Coproductions is a VR project composed of episodes two and three of a trilogy produced by Be Revolution Pictures. The first part of Jailbirds, set up with the support of Wallimage Creative, is a great success in the world of new technologies. It has been awarded in festivals and bought by Oculus TV, the reference of the genre, which belongs to the Meta group (Facebook). 110 Manufacturing days are located in Wallonia at Atomik Pik, Poolpio and UFX Wallonia with a team of 19 people in various technical and creative positions.

The next session is very close since the files will have to be sent to Wallimage at the latest on Thursday, March 10 at 5 pm. Their analysis will end on March 23 and the Board of Directors that will arbitrate the proposals of the copro team will meet on April 1.

Which is no joke, of course.