• 26.08.2022

Mandy, Grave, Vivarium, Cub, The Hole in the Ground, The Cellar, the Room… In the last few years, Wallimage Coproductions has co-financed many genre films.

The interest of these projects for the Walloon economy is obvious: they require a lot of post-production and exciting special effects for our specialized companies. What’s more, film shoots are generally flexible and adapt very well to the backdrops offered by our region. The icing on the cake is that, while the world’s film industry is still slow, thrillers, horror films and other dark thrillers continue to live on, boosted by the enthusiasm of die-hard aficionados, festivals with a serious grassroots base and the appearance of specialized video platforms.

Some Belgian producers have taken advantage of our passion and the efficiency of the Tax Shelter to perfect diabolical pipelines: projects jointly financed by Ireland and Belgium have multiplied to the delight of seasoned international salesmen who have identified our country as an ideal territory for cultivating fear and suspense. But projects from Italy, Scandinavia, Austria, Spain or France, of course, are also increasingly numerous.

Historically, Belgium has always been a fertile ground for the strange. Without going back as far as Jean Ray, a tenor of shivering literature if ever there was one, the creation of the BIFFF in 1983 is a flagrant proof of this. The Brussels Fantastic Film Festival has quickly become a major event, recognized throughout the world for its curiosity, its audacity… and its atmosphere. Having traveled from Passage 44 to Bozar, via Tour & Taxis, the BIFFF celebrates its 40th anniversary next week. For this purpose, he moved to Brussels Expo, at the Heysel.

The BIFFF fantasy

We’re not going to lie to you: the first BIFFF selections of films co-financed in Wallonia were greeted like wonderful trophies by the Wallimage Coproductions team. Thanks to this performance, Muse and I Figli della Notte occupy a special place in our hearts. Far be it from us to rest on our laurels: we’ve been boosting our support for the genre of late. To the point of becoming THE European fund with the most exciting catalog in the field. Absolute consecration: this year’s BIFFF welcomes us with FOUR major works.

The opening of hostilities (Monday, August 29), after two years severely disrupted by a deadly virus, has even been entrusted to The Vesper Chronicles, a French-Belgian-Estonian odyssey, co-produced here by 10.80 films. Selected in official competition at the Karlovy-Vary Film Festival (category A) and released in France on August 17 to critical acclaim, this sci-fi odyssey proves that Europe can still make a name for itself in lands largely dominated by American productions.

Four incredible films

This European resistance to American hegemony with works of great ambition is the common point that unites the four films co-financed by Wallimage.

Take Hinterland. Initiated in Austria and co-produced by Luxembourg, this expressionist thriller has found, thanks to Scope Pictures, a Belgian base. A participation far from being insignificant. The film was shot on a green key background and all the sets had to be made in post-production in digital images and inlaid. This work of goldsmith was done by the magicians of Benuts who succeeded in shaping a hallucinatory phantasmagorical universe, in the image of the state of mind of the characters. Hinterland, worthy heir of Dark City, is also based on a formidable scenario that plunges the viewer into the aftermath of the First World War. A handful of Austrian soldiers who had been liberated from the Russian camps came back to Vienna in a ragged state. They are greeted with caution, as they are suspected of having been turned and of being communist spies. So when a sadistic serial killer attacks them, the police look the other way. The investigation of the hero, a victim on probation, is then like a race against death. As the resolution of this unparalleled whodunnit lives up to its originality, we can only advise you to reserve your seats for the September 2 screening at 4.30pm. Especially as the film will not be released in Belgian cinemas.

In a similar vein, Freaks Out, co-financed in Belgium by Gapbusters, is an Italian work of crazy ambition. This superhero film plunges us into the heart of a traveling circus, populated by spectacular creatures with strange powers. It is 1943 and Franz, a pianist fascinated by Nazism, sets out to bring these creatures to Berlin to save the Third Reich from collapse. Aesthetically sublime, this Italian-Belgian film directed by Gabriele Mainetti won six Donatello awards (the local Oscars), including the one for best producer, which crowned for the second time in three years Joseph Roushop from Liege. Join us on September 9 at 8:30 p.m. for the Belgian premiere of this monument.

Megalomaniac, the latest Wallimage feature film to be presented at BIFFF, is without a doubt the most frightening of the lot. Designed and built in Wallonia, it was entirely financed there. Karim Ouelhaj, who is not afraid of anything, tells the story of the children of the Mons butcher, the never-identified killer who struck in March 1997, leaving the limbs of his victims, all women, in garbage bags. Before disappearing forever. While the investigators still have five years to shed light on this sordid case worthy of Jack the Ripper, Megalomaniac imagines that the psychopath had a son who decides, twenty-five years later, to celebrate “his father’s work” by replicating his modus operandi. And a very disturbed girl, one would be less so. With its very tight budget, Megalomaniac could have (should have) been a nice and, at best, disturbing fanfilm. We are (very) far from that! Visceral, disturbing, spectacular, visually stunning, this work stunned Montreal, winning the Best Film and Best Performer awards at the Fantasia Festival. A thunderclap unanimously welcomed by the North American press. And a great source of pride for Okayss, a young production company based in Liège, which brought this film to light. Let’s be clear: Megalomaniac is no ordinary horror slasher. It is a shock that will leave you dizzy and upset. Rather to advise to the fans of Martyrs than to those of Scream, therefore. The screening, officially supported by Wallimage, takes place on Wednesday August 31 at 9:30 pm in a 500-seat hall. In the presence of the film crew, of course.

Four Wallimage feature films in selection at the BIFFF, here is the ultimate proof that our country can very well slip into the international concert of thrills with very high ambitions. We have always believed in it. Against all odds (all). So this triumph may be a detail for you, but for us it means a lot…