Objective Cannes 2019 for a busy 89th session

  • 15.05.2018

Whatever happens, a session that allows the Walloon fund to support a new film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is always a great vintage. First of all, because the brothers are unanimously considered to be world-class directors and all moviegoers are eagerly awaiting their new production. Then because historically, Wallimage was created in the wake of the Palme d’Or for Rosetta and it is undeniably moving to renew project after project, a contract of trust among the most prestigious that are.
That said, as you know, Wallimage is an economic fund and cinephilia has no place in its strategic choices. This restriction is never a handicap with the brothers’ films, which are always authentically based in the Liège region, produced by people from Liège(Les films du Fleuve) with a plethora of Walloon technicians in their workforce. The profile of their works corresponds perfectly to what our fund seeks and tries to promote. For Ahmed, their new project, the duo goes back to its fundamentals: a film without any known actor, based on the energy of its main character. Given the subject of the scenario, it is obvious that the expectation generated will be enormous and that Cannes 2019 is already a reasonable goal … and exciting!

Other feature films, selected during this session, could also accompany Ahmed on the Croisette, why not?

We think for example of Poissonsexe, 3rd film ofOlivier Babinet who has already been twice to the festival with Swagger and Robert Mitchum is dead. In the poetic-surrealist vein of the latter, Poissonsexe appears funny, moving and trendy: the cinematographer is Kaurismaki’s, the composer of the soundtrack is a member of Air, while the cast will consist of Gustave Kervern, India Hair, Gringe, Tom Audenaert and Erika Sainte. The Walloon expenditure is mainly devoted to technicians: 18 people, including 12 heads of post. The VFX will be done at Mikros in Liège, the mastering at Charbon, and the sound post production at Dame Blanche, Sonic Pil and Mute and solo. Add to that the rental of lighting and electro (Eyelite), machinery (KGS), sound equipment (Ad hoc) and we get a perfect file signed by Tarantula that could take us to the Fortnight, right?



Another Cannes candidate (for the Critics’ Week?) and the second project directed by a Belgian director of the session (there are four in total!), Jumbo is the first feature film by Zoé Wittock, a young and ambitious Belgian director. Produced in Belgium by Kwassa, Jumbo tells the story of a young girl’s all-consuming love affair with a carousel… Not so far-fetched as that, the basis of the scenario is in fact based on a real anecdote, terribly intriguing. Fifteen people including 8 postmasters are gathered on the shoot which will make 12 days of stopover in Plopsa Coo. The equipment will be rented in Marcinelle at Panavision and at Cinesound. The necessarily amazing VFX will be done at Benuts.

Un monde plus grand, the second French project of the selection, co-produced in Belgium by Scope Pictures, is also a particular film, based on a true story, that of a young woman who, during a trip to Mongolia, discovers during a ceremony that she is a shaman who does not know herself. If the project relies on two stars (Cécile de France and Ludivine Sagnier), it will also be interpreted by a host of non-professional actors who are in fact the characters of the real story. So here we are clearly between fiction and docu-fiction since even the scenes shot in Belgium will be in the exact places where part of the adventure took place. Director of Pieds nus sur les limaces, Fabienne Berthaud will direct this feature film that will occupy 36 Walloon technicians, including 10 post supervisors. The rental of equipment, catering and the entire post-production chain (except for image editing) will be Walloon. In Cannes, we could see it at the Fortnight or at Un certain regard.


But let’s stop our festival speculations: the four other projects that the Wallimage Board of Directors decided to co-finance in this beautiful month of May will not be in Cannes next year. No way! No chance! And it doesn’t matter, because they have won our support thanks to attractive proposals in terms of spending in the Walloon Region, and that’s the main thing.

The least surprising of these projects is probably Albatros, a Flemish series… which will be entirely shot in Wallonia. Pitching with great talent at the recent Séries mania in Lille, this series, selected by the prestigious Torino Lab, tells the funny and touching story of twelve corpulent Flemings who travel by bus to a retreat in the Ardennes to fight the demons that have created their obesity. The young production company, De Werelvrede , is in charge of this project, which will be the first series of Wannes Destoop, who won the Jury Prize in Cannes for his short film Maillot de Bain 46. In addition to some typical Walloon actors, the sound industry, the SFX supervisor, the canteen (Max Cook), the VFX at Mikros, the sound at Sonicpil and the equipment rental will also be Walloon.


Liliane Susewind is no stranger to us. Wallimage has, in fact, already co-financed a feature film based on his adventures. This first part, colorful, warm and funny, will be released in Germany in May, distributed by Sony. The configuration of this second episode, still carried by Velvet Films on the Belgian side, is almost identical: the (important) Walloon expenses are divided between ten days of shooting at home, about fifty Walloon technicians on the job, all the equipment rented from Panavision Wallonia, KGS and LCF. L’Autre Compagnie, who did a great job on the initial film, will again take care of most of the VFX while the French dubbing will be done by Genval Les Dames.


By coincidence, two Icaruses close this promising panel. The first one is an animated feature film that Iris production is offering. This ambitious project with a controlled budget is directed by the Luxembourgish Carlo Vogele who spent eight years of his life at Pixar. Not a bad pedigree, eh? Almost all of the Walloon expenditure will be allocated to Mikros Liège, which will collaborate with Mikros Paris, Zeilt and CG Lux, Les fées spéciales (Montpellier) and Watt Frame in Thionville. A Belgian-French-Luxembourg pipeline that is as atypical as it is attractive. Mikros Liège will perform a large part of the animation work (!) as well as VFX/anime and compositing. A new system called shadows and lights was even developed in Liege to obtain a rendering of “artistic 3d” quite striking. Nearly half of the project’s working days will be in Liège (4586 out of 10,987), i.e. a team of about 40 people occupied during the entire production period. The icing on the cake is that the voices will be recorded at Dame Blanche Genval. An unstoppable project, therefore.

The other Icarus, Icarus or the measure of things, is frankly less amusing. Produced by Iota and initiated by Patric Jean, this documentary will address the very worrying issue of the survival of our planet via a trip to the Mediterranean Sea, one of the most polluted areas today that could very well become a desert in a few years. The point of view developed by the director mixes reportage, philosophy, art and music for an undeniably Walloon look at a fundamental subject of our time. Genval les Dames will take care of the post production work.

Eight projects, four directed by Belgian directors and four in co-productions, five live-action features, one animated feature, one docu, one series, don’t get me wrong: the selection is eclectic, rational and promises us an even more exciting year 2019 than expected.