Virtually meeting this Monday 28 June to conclude the third funding session of 2021, the Board of Wallimage had to make some painful choices. Sixteen files had been submitted to the analysis team and, despite their overall very good quality, it was necessary to discard some of them. Cruel economic reality.
Ten of them were finally selected for a total investment of 1,691,000 euros.
Among the winners, it is without surprise the season 2 of the new-look Smurfs that immediately attracts attention. Even if the expenses have been mechanically reduced, more than two million euros will be invested in the Walloon Region to produce the 52 new 11 minute episodes of this successful series. The 1 season broadcast, which launched in October 2020, broke many records. On TF1, the first 2 episodes reached 52 % of market share in the 4-10 age group, a score not seen since… 2007. Another era with fewer channels and no platform. A team of 33 people, including 8 station managers, is involved in this second season, the design of which is done at Peyo Prod while DreamWall is in charge of 75 % of the animation.
In the wake of this animated blockbuster, other files were also initiated in Belgium. We have selected five of them. That’s six in all, which must be a record in the annals of Wallimage.
Produced by Entre Chien et Loup, The Perfect Boyfriend, will be the next feature film by Sam Garbarski . In a few years, androids will have replaced men for menial tasks. To work, people without qualifications will have to pretend to be robots. The subject is jubilant, superbly treated by a Thomas Gunzig in great form (pleonasm). Niels Schneider and Bouli Lanners will play two of the main characters of this romantic comedy of anticipation which will allow 38 Walloons to meet during 35 days on the set from November. Benuts will produce the futuristic special effects over a four-month period.
The return to business of Bernard Bellefroid is news that we are delighted about. The director who gave us La Régate and Melody returns here with Gaétan David(La compagnie cinématographique) for One of the Thousand Hills, a documentary that is a sort of sequel to ” Rwanda, the hills speak ” which has become a reference on the subject. In 2021, as those responsible for the massacre are released from prison, Bernard looks into the murder of four kids. A way to see if the reconciliation process and justice can work together in a country that is slowly healing its wounds. Bernard Bellefroid will take a sound engineer and a director of photography to Africa, but the rest of the film crew will be Rwandan. Editing, sound effects and mixing will be done at Dame Blanche in Genval.
Although documentaries are a Belgian specialty, the format of the documentary mini-series has been little exploited until now. Yet it is ultra-popular worldwide, thanks in particular to Netflix, which has started producing them in droves. Inspired by the success of ” Soupçon ” on the Wesphael affair, RTL has decided to co-finance Heysel, Bloc Z, a six-part project that will trace the Heysel drama from its beginnings to the trials that followed. Scope Pictures is developing this ambitious project to be directed by the Flemish star Jan Verheyen (Het vonnis, Dossier K…) and based on the book by Jean-Philippe Leclaire : ” Le Heysel, une tragédie européenne “. Fourteen Walloons will be involved in the shooting which will be post-produced at Bardaf, Dame Blanche and Benuts.
Broadcast in 2020 just before the TV news, the fifty humorous capsules ofUne semaine sur deux are still visible on Auvio. They are the work of Carole Matagne and Stéphane Quinet, a Hutois like her, who handled the production with Media Services. The actors will meet again this summer to shoot 40 additional episodes, still in the Liège region. EyeLite, Adhoc and Bardaf are the companies most involved in the series, directed by Mathieu Debaty and Joachim Weissmann.
As the formula worked rather well, RTBF decided to launch another project of the same kind. It is Koko Arrose la Culture, associated with 1080 films (the Baraki duo) which produces this series of 50 episodes of 3 minutes imagined by Thierry De Coster. Christelle Delbrouck and Laura Fautré will play a mother and a daughter, two Walloon women who live in the village bistro, Chez Nadette. But despite their complicity, the two women do not have the same ambitions in life. This comedy series, resolutely positive, will be filmed in French of course, but also… in Walloon. To fight against the oblivion of the regional languages which it is said will have disappeared for half at the end of this century. Heritage, humor and good-natured feminism will be the mainspring of this project which will bring together 29 Walloons who are already very motivated by their respective missions.
In addition to these six majority initiatives, the Board of Directors selected four co-productions. Two are series and two are feature films. All of them are from France, which is very good news as it seems sometimes complicated to set up ambitious projects between the two countries.
Belga will again be at the Belgian helm of The Opera, season 2. Raphaël Personnaz, Suzy Bemba and Ariane Labed are the main actors of this drama which takes place backstage and on the stage of the Paris Opera… in reality filmed in Wallonia in the castle of Ollignies and at the Opera of Liege during 65 of the 96 days of shooting. A large part of the Walloon team of the season 1 is renewed while Benuts, L’Équipe Wallonie and Sonhouse will take care of part of the postproduction. As for Season 1, the three Belgian economic funds are supporting this beautiful project.
Benuts is also at the center of the post-production of another prestigious series : Marie-Antoinette. This historical drama, co-produced in Belgium by Les Gens, was written by Deborah Davis, nominated for an Oscar for La Favorite, and will be directed by Pete Travis. It will be shot in English for wide international distribution on the model of Versailles, a recent Capa Drama triumph, which we find here with Banijay Studios at the French controls. 700,000 euros will be spent at Benuts who had already been able to prove on Versailles its know-how in crowd augmentation and other digital manipulations to make contemporary environments soluble in the eighteenth century.
It’s been a few months since Wallimage has been involved in the financing of a “big” French comedy and it’s with a certain pleasure that the Board of Directors has retained the file Ducobu, President, proposed by by Umedia, especially since the scenario of this fourth part is very funny, from the beginning to the end. There is no reason for the public to shun this new episode of a saga whose attendance scores have always fluctuated between 1 and 1.5 million spectators. Elli Semoun, who co-wrote the script, will once again be at the helm of this film, which is mainly shot in Brussels and a little in Wallonia. Many expenses will be made at Team Wallonia, Cob Studio, Bardaf or TSF while the special effects will also be made in Wallonia. As Wallimage has been granted exceptional conditions of revenue generation, the enthusiasm around this project is palpable.
In a completely different genre, Jour 37 has become a Belgian co-production thanks to Gapbusters, which will allow the Carolo company Level 9 to play with fire in the pine forests of Aquitaine. A huge budget for a rather hallucinating work since almost all of this disaster movie with a great cast (Alex Lutz and André Dussollier) takes place in the heart of a devastating forest fire. Mikros Liège will complete this work with a post-production intervention that will also honor Cob Studio, Bardaf and the Walloon Team, which is making a nice comeback in several cases. New collaborative projects, no doubt due to the proactive investments made in Rosières by Guy Manas. It should be noted that for this project as well, the revenue access corridor granted to the fund by the producers was decisive in the final choice…
The deposit of the next session is scheduled for THURSDAY 16 September at 17 hours. Yes, from now on, the deposits will be made on Thursday to allow us to validate them on Friday and to already start the analysis during the first weekend.