Session 118: 10 new projects in all shapes and sizes

Wallimage’s Decentralized Co-Production Council, meeting on Thursday February 22, 2024 under the chairmanship of Virginie Vandeputte, decided to co-finance ten works presented as part of the first session of 2024, the 118th in Wallimage’s history. The rigorous selection includes three feature-length fiction films from France, Quebec and Italy, three fiction series, one Belgian documentary and three animated works, two series and one feature-length film.

Three feature films

Despite its English title, The thing that hurts is Arnaud Desplechin’s new feature film. After Leos Carax’s Annette and La Tête dans les étoiles, two films supported by Wallimage, this is Wrong Men ‘s 3rd collaboration with Charles Gilibert’s company. Featuring a stunning international cast, this drama follows the death of a famous American psychotherapist living in Paris, as some of her patients confide in her about their relationship with the deceased. 30 days out of 35 will be filmed in Brussels, with some exteriors shot in Paris. 15 Walloon technicians will be involved in this adventure, including a solid sound team. Other notable expenses include equipment rental, an indispensable canteen, sound and image postproduction and some VFX at MPC. Objective: Cannes 2025!

While Benoit Roland is a regular at our sessions, the same cannot be said of the young production company Écho Bravo, based in Temploux, in the Namur region. Petite Rose is the first feature-length co-production brought to Wallimage by Etienne and Benoit Hansez, who held lengthy discussions with Wallimage staff ahead of the application process, in order to conform as closely as possible to the profile expected by the fund. Mission accomplished: This sensitive, powerful film is written and directed by Geneviève Dulude-De Celles. Une Colonie, his first feature film, has been shown at over 50 international festivals and won a Crystal Bear at the 2019 Berlinale. Walloon expenditure includes 4 on-set technicians, sound postproduction at Bardaf, and image postproduction. A smooth start, heralding other equally interesting projects and an interesting opening to Quebec.


While Écho Bravo draws its projects from Canada, some producers specialize in French and German series and feature films. As for Joseph Rouschop, he has become the preferred Walloon intermediary for Italian producers, with whom he works on an increasing number of prestigious collaborations, winning prizes at the local Donatello awards every year. For Il Nibio , he reunites with Alessandro Tonda and Notorious Pictures, director and producer respectively of The Shift, for a political thriller based on a true story. It’s 2005 and Giuliana Sgren, a journalist with Il Manifesto, has been kidnapped in Iraq. Nicola Calipari (code name: Il Nibbio), an Italian intelligence agent, will do everything in his power to set her free. To replace the Shift’s cinematographer, Benoit Dervaux, who has been requisitioned for the Dardenne brothers’ next film (shooting this summer), Tarantula is launching Walloon Bruno Degrave into the international fiction scene. Degrave, who has worked on corporate films, documentaries, TV series and films, is now ready to take on the big boys. 15 days of shooting in Rome and 18 in Morocco will keep 5 Walloon technicians busy, but as is often the case in this type of co-production, the bulk of the expenditure will be concentrated on sound (Bardaf, Cob, Mute and solo) and image post-production, with some special effects to be produced by Benuts.


Three series

We stay with the political thriller with Kabul, a series of six 52-minute episodes initiated in France by two scriptwriters who contributed to the series Tapie and Baron Noir, as well as the film Tirailleurs. Experienced artists, which is no luxury when you want to tell a kaleidoscopic story about an event as recent as the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and more specifically about Western reactions to the assault. Kasia Adamik and Olga Chajdas, two Polish directors, are at the helm of this project, which is mainly shot in… Greece: the city and airport of Kabul will be filmed in Athens. Sound effects will be provided by Dame Blanche, sound editing and mixing by Bardaf, and 50% of the imposing VFX work will be done by L’autre compagnie in La Hulpe. In Belgium, Panache and La Compagnie Cinématographique are co-producing this international project involving France TV, ZDF and Rai, as part of the pan-European Alliance.

France TV will also be broadcasting season 4 of Les Invisibles, a 6×52-minute French crime series. Unlike season 3, already financed by Wallimage, Sequel prod brought us this new salvo with 20 days in Wallonia, 25 in Brussels and 1 in France. The sound team, the electro and machinists, the rental from KGS, the canteen from Auguste Traiteur and the sound editing and mixing at Équipe Wallonie, represent the bulk of the fairly substantial expenses.

This session marks the return of series with last but not least, The Dinosaur Club, a 6X45′ young adults fantasy series signed by Lutz Heineking Jr, director of The Peacock already co-produced by Frakas and supported by Wallimage. In the vein of Stranger Things, this series takes a few teenagers through a strange mutation (the title is a clue). 30 of the 61 shooting days will be in Wallonia. TSF will be responsible for the rental of camera, machinery and electro equipment, while regional catering will feed 12 local technicians… and their Belgian and German acolytes. Post-production will be handled by Bardaf, and VFX – particularly attractive, as you’d expect – by Benuts. The project is largely financed by the CBS group, which will distribute the series internationally, but the German channel ZDF is also heavily involved in the financing. For Frakas, this is a continuation of the collaboration with Germany that began with the MMC studio. It is also its biggest participation to date in a co-production with our neighbors.


A Belgian documentary

Snake children” is the nickname given to children born of wartime rape in Eastern Congo. With modesty, Vanessa Kabwela and Idriss Gabel plunge us into the heart of an orphanage to listen to these children envision their lives. Apart from 20 days’ shooting in the Congo, almost everything on this project is Walloon: the authors, the soundtrack composers, the production team, the editors, the colorist, the digital VFX supervisor and the picture post-production manager. To achieve this tour de force, Les films de la Passerelle relies on a mini galaxy of Walloon service providers specialized in documentaries: Cetemi for equipment and editing, Stand Up for sound editing, Genval-les-Dames for color grading and Planète Hollywood for mastering. An example for other emerging Walloon producers who could benefit from the experience of these companies and concentrate their spending in the Walloon Region.


Three animation projects

Les aventures fantastiques de Sacré-Cœur is a 26-episode, 22-minute 2D animated series, adapted from a comic book series published by Lézard noir and directed by Florent Heitz (Petit Poilu S2). We plunge into the Paris of the early 20th century, to discover Sacré-Cœur, a genius creator very sensitive to fantastic creatures and spirits. He investigates with Abigaël, a ghost who has fled her castle in Scotland. This is Belvision’s second co-production with Ankama, after Abraca. With production of Les Gardes Chimères coming to an end, this project will enable the Marcinelle studio to keep its 2D team – a luxury, given the intense hunt for animation talent in Belgium.


Gros lézard (the reptilian theme is very present in this session) is also an animated series (52 episodes of 7 minutes), but it’s aimed at a younger audience, ages 4 to 7. Cosima and her Dad explore space with their rocket… which breaks down, stranding them on a planet that looks eerily like Earth… millions of years ago. There they meet Gros Lézard, the first animal to emerge from the water. Bardaf! Productions, the Belgian co-producer, has entrusted the animation of 37 episodes to studio Waooh! This 3D project is based on a stop-motion “modeling clay” rendering, and will be distributed worldwide by the legendary Aardman studios (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run…). A real class act!


We end this long selection with In Waves (our illustration). This 2D animated feature, aimed at a more mature audience aged 13 and over, is the adaptation of a graphic novel distributed in 10 countries and selling over 100,000 copies in France alone. The icing on the cake: the project won the prestigious Prix Ciclic Animation at MIFA 2021 in Annecy, rewarding the best pitch of the edition. Thanks to Taka and PaniqueThis film by Phuong-Mai Nguyen (nominated for an Oscar for animated short in 2016 and director of the Culotées series) will occupy various Walloon service providers for 418 days, including 308 days at Aromates, Bernard Devillers’ new company, which will handle compositing, 3D-2D retouching, sound post-production, laboratory… Sound editing will be done at Studio l’Équipe Wallonie, mixing at Mute and solo, sound effects, color grading and mastering at Genval-les-Dames. Finally, audio description, SME version and English subtitles will be provided by Chambre noire.


The next session starts on March 21. The good news for Wallonia is that it’s already shaping up to be a busy and intense year: producers will have to outdo themselves to get their project into our line-up.

  • 28.03.2024