The baptism of fire for the new administrators was hectic, because this unexpected influx obviously has a downside: since the amount of money available to co-produce audiovisual projects remains stable, the number of files that cannot be financed explodes. This does not mean that they are especially fragile. Not at all! These files, which will not receive Walloon regional support, are only victims of a rather fierce mechanical competition initiated by the producers themselves, who are more and more professional and efficient.
In this exciting but delicate context, the Board of Directors was nevertheless able to select seven proposals: five feature films and two animation projects (one feature film and one series of short vignettes).
Within this selection, the most surprising and exciting aspect is the diversity of projects chosen according to 100% economic criteria. There are a few big co-productions, a first film initiated in Belgium, two genre films that confirm our anchorage in the niche and an almost artisanal project carried by a producer who makes his entry into the Wallimage cenacle.
First co-production of Belga Films, Kursk has a rather colossal budget of 40 million Euros. Directed by the Dane Thomas Vinterberg, magnified by a very attractive cast (Matthias Schoenaerts, Colin Firth, Lea Seydoux…), Kursk tells the (true) story of a Russian submarine stuck at the bottom of the sea following an accidental explosion. Alas, the fate of his crew is subject to the vagaries of a very bureaucratic diplomacy.
For its international debut, Belga has managed the feat of territorializing more than 16 million expenses in Belgium, including a share in Wallonia, mainly in the filming team within which, an imposing construction team and the unavoidable Olivier de Laveleye responsible for special effects on site. Mikros is entrusted with the image lab and Macadamcar will provide the dressing rooms. A surprising Walloon setting was also chosen: the Orthodox church of Binche, which will be the setting for four days of shooting.
Thomas Vinterverg previously directed Matthais Schoenaerts in “Far from the Madding Crowd.”
Thanks to its privileged contacts with France, Scope Pictures was one of the few to bring us a co-production with our neighbors. Surprisingly enough, Last Chance College is a comedy adapted from Toto’s jokes. As is often the case with Scope, the Walloon investments are significant. The SFX will be done at the Other Company in La Hulpe while many young Walloon actors have been cast for what will be their first screen appearance. We note with satisfaction the involvement of the musical structure General Score which will take care of the recording of the soundtrack, according to a model that has just been tested with great success on the film Our Patriots.
Produced by Artemis, Cavale will be the first feature film of Belgian director Virginie Gourmel. Micha Wald’s excellent screenplay tells the story of three slightly disturbed teenage girls’ escape from the world in the style of a road movie. The entire shooting will take place in Wallonia. Nearly half a million will be spent at home, with service providers such as CQFD, Tacha Cantine, Eye-Lite Wallonie, KGS Development or Charbon Studio. Many technicians, including several station managers, will also be present.
For some time, Wallimage has been increasingly solicited by producers who propose genre film projects. The niche is particularly interesting for a fund like ours since these feature films with a controlled budget highlight special effects (and thus allow us to develop Walloon companies that are virtuosos in the sector) and are sometimes likely to generate significant revenues.
The specialist of the discipline is Walloon since Frakas has already brought us works like Grave or Muse. Here he presents us with an Irish co-production called Sea Fever, which could only be described as a maritime version of Alien. Experienced Walloon technicians are involved in this project (scriptwriter, costume designer, builders and decorators…) while a few days of shooting will take place in the studio at the Pôle image de Liège. In post-production, Mikros will take care of color grading and all visual special effects.
We find Mikros in the other “genre” file. The Hole in the Ground is in the tradition of the psychological horror film with a scenario as mysterious as it is fascinating. This first feature film will be the third collaboration between Benoit Roland (Wrong Men) and his faithful Irish partners from Savage after Pilgrimage, already sold worldwide, and the intriguing Good Favour, which should soon begin a career in festivals. Here, Finland joins the duo to complete the financing plan. Four days of shooting will take place in Wallonia and the film will be entirely post-produced here. Quentin Collette and Philippe Charbonnel (at the studio l’équipe Bierges) will join the project to take care of the sound, and the VFX will be handled by Mikros Image Liège.
A Wallimage session would not be quite complete without animation projects. The board of directors of the Walloon fund has selected two of them.
After 78 episodes for TV, Vic the Viking becomes a full-length animated film presented as a mix of spectacular adventures and humor halfway between Dragons and Asterix. Initiated by Studio 100 in France and Germany, the film will be co-produced in Belgium by Belvision, which is thus opening up collaboration prospects with new partners. It will be partly produced in Dreamwall Studios. The French dubbing should be done at Dame Blanche.
Compared to this project with a substantial budget (we are talking about more than ten million euros), the last approved file is almost artisanal. It did not seduce us less. Truffe Production (Ferdinand Kech) has proposed a second season of the adventures of Luchien, a zany canine imagined by Bruno Taloche and animated in 3D by Michel Trutin. 250 days of work will occupy the very small Walloon studio Mediatiks. These one-minute episodes, also called “filler”, are very popular with TV stations, as they can be slipped in before a newscast or between two pages of advertising. Their international potential is promising.