Two films initiated by Walloon producers and a new 100% Belgian TV series, a prestigious IP returning to the region: Belgium and, in particular, Wallonia, are the undisputed stars of a very qualitative 96th session with big regional spending in sight.
Encouraged by our investment of 1.2 million euros, Wallimage’s partner producers are preparing to inject more than 7.3 million euros into the Walloon audiovisual sector!
The big event of this session is undoubtedly the return of the Smurfs franchise to Wallonia. The television series of the 80’s had been developed in the United States by Hanna Barbera while the feature films that mixed animation and live action were produced by Sony. This return to the country, piloted by Peyo productions (based in Rixensart), will be the occasion for the production of a brand new animated series, meeting the technical and aesthetic criteria of our time, namely a perfectly animated, dynamic and captivating 3D. For this first season (two are already in the pipeline), 52 episodes of 12 minutes will be produced between Belgium and France. The animation of 39 episodes will be entirely done in Marcinelle in the Dreamwall studios. This work represents 7,317 man-days spread over a team of 34 people, including 6 station managers, or 33 full-time equivalents for a full year. In absolute volume, it is quite simply the largest audiovisual expenditure in Wallonia on an animation project.
For Wallimage, the Walloon anchorage of this series is a pride. But for us, this success is above all the culmination of a long process of accompaniment and support that has enabled Dreamwall to evolve serenely over the years until it has become a first-rate animation studio, worthy of hosting a project of this scale.
Two feature films developed and directed by Walloon producers in the same session is unusual. However, they seduced the administrators of Wallimage with shootings in Gaume and Luxembourg, a large number of technicians and a good part of the postproduction done in our country.
WithLes Poings serrés, Vivian Goffette treats a fascinating subject with skill and talent. This is not a surprise as the Walloon director has taken the time to chisel his text over many years. Young Joseph lives with his mother and older brother in a small village near Virton. Incognito. He misses his father very much. Yes, but her father is a child killer, incarcerated for a very long time. He is public enemy number 1, hated by the population.
On this very high voltage theme, Vivian will sign here her second feature film after the excellent Yam Dam, directed with a micro-budget within the framework of Cinéastes associés. For the occasion, he reunited with Stéphane Lhoest (Dragon Films) who had produced his short films and already supervised Yam Dam. 37 Walloons, including 16 postmasters, will be at work during the 27 days of shooting. Walloon location, color grading, sound effects, mastering and sound mix at Genval les Dames: this is a project that Wallimage could not fail to support since it is ideally calibrated for us.
With Inexorable, Fabrice Du Welz forges his first partnership with Jean-Yves Roubin (Frakas), probably the most openly Walloon producer of genre films. The meeting was inevitable. Now that he has finished his Ardennes trilogy and abandoned his extraordinary love stories, Fabrice plunges body and soul into a film noir, just as captivating. As a family settles into a large home, a young girl appears and interferes in their lives. Who is she? What does she want? That’s what’s at stake in this scenario, as inexorable as its title. The filming planned for the spring will be 100% Walloon in a setting unearthed by Wallimage Tournages, at the Château de Roumont, in Libin, in the province of Luxembourg. The exterior and secondary settings will be located in the Neufchâteau region. 36 Walloon technicians, including 6 heads of post, will support Fabrice who will do part of his location in Wallonia and will call upon Auguste Traiteur for the canteen, Benuts for the few essential VFX, The post Box for the sound editing and Genval les dames for the sound effects.
Two Belgian films on the program is already an excellent average. Add in a new series and you’ll understand why this session is a bit out of the ordinary.
Historically, Unseen was one of the very first projects accepted by the RTBF and Wallonia-Brussels Federation series fund in March 2014. At the time produced by Be Films and written by Pierre Puget and Mehdi Husain, Les Invisibles finally arrives in production, under an English title, supported by Kwassa and re-written by Marie Enthoven. The life of series in development is far from being a long quiet river and when we see the number of files initially accepted that have disappeared over time (Social killers, Comme les autres, Rumeurs, Gardes à vue, Plus belge la vie, Prince Albert, Alerte, Motel, Warning, Ouesterne, les Pionniers, to name a few…), we understand that those who reach the final stage of filming are in great need of encouragement… and of financial support
Like La Trêve and Ennemi Public, Unseen (8 episodes of 52 minutes) will be filmed mainly in Wallonia with 54 days out of 64 in Braine-l’Alleud, Jodoigne, Boulez and Rixensart. A team of 45 people, including 14 post supervisors, will be at work while the special effects, very important for the credibility of the story, will be entrusted to the expert hands of Benuts. Other good news: Geoffrey Enthoven (Hasta la Vista) will direct the series. In front of the camera, we will find Myriem Akheddiou, Elisa Echevarria, Bérénice Baoo or Jérémy Gillet, recently seen in the series A l’intérieur by Vincent Lannoo on France 2.
The Board of Wallimage has also decided to co-finance three feature films in co-production.
Presented by Les films du Fleuve, Farid Bentoumi’s Rouge is an ecological thriller coupled with a family drama. The tense scenario plays wonderfully on both levels and is in line with the times. The director of Good Luck Algeria is surrounded on this project by 12 Walloon technicians plus three post supervisors. The location is done at TSF; the image editing and mixing will be done at Bardaf, and it is À toutes faims utiles that feeds the troops. The filming stops for seven days in Wallonia in two factories notably spotted by the teams of Wallimage Tournage. Let us note that Walimage co-finances here, after Lukas and La terre et le sang, the third consecutive feature film in which Sami Bouajila, recently settled in Belgium, plays. A lucky charm?
If Rouge is undoubtedly looking forward to Cannes, what can we say about Bergman Island, the new feature film by French director Mia Hansen Love, a very obvious candidate for selection on the Croisette? For her first English-language feature, the director has assembled an international cast including Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska. No shooting in Belgium for this very cinephile drama co-financed by Scope Pictures and entirely located in Sweden, but a regional team of 34 people, including 15 postmasters (for more than 300.000 euros). In terms of post-production, most of the work will be done in Wallonia: sound editing and mixing at Bardaf, sound effects at Dame Blanche and VFX at Benuts.
“Last but not least” is an expression widely used by journalists in need of transition. In the case of Kommunioun, directed by Jacques Molitor, it still makes sense. After Skinwalker, of which we saw some very captivating excerpts at the Frontières market in Cannes last May, Luxembourg offers us a new and very attractive genre film. Or rather a film to be classified in the “elevated genre” category, i.e. genre films that deal with a contemporary societal or psychological issue.
Novak will bring 26 days of shooting (out of 39) in Wallonia. 29 regional staff including 12 station managers are involved while the technical expenses will be divided between rentals, canteen by Anne and Fred and special effects which will constitute an important part of the budget. They will be divided according to an artistic option that is yet to be defined between pure digital effects or a mixture of special effects on the set and VFX. Unusual expenditure, the production called upon… a wolf trainer. Without giving away the plot, this already gives you a small indication of what the film is about, which, if it lives up to the promise of its great script, will be a major addition to our fantasticwallonia.be site.