Brussels' and Wallonia's regional funds invest almost €9 million in audiovisual
by Aurore Engelen
- Wallimage and screen.brussels, the Walloon and Brussels-based regional investment funds, have published their annual reviews; in 2017 they supported just shy of 40 features between them
The start of the year is the traditional time for regional investment funds Wallimage and screen.brussels to publish their annual reviews. Last year, they invested almost €9 million in the audiovisual industry in Belgium, including 38 feature films.
Wallimage, a fund created in 2001, invested €5,864,000, which should generate returns of 500% in Wallonia. For several years now, we have seen that these investments have increasingly been leaning towards television projects, a sector that has been reinvigorated in French-speaking Belgium by the arrival on the market (and the success) of series funded by the state and public television channels. As a result, eight series were backed last year, five of which were Belgian. A further five series were supported last year by Wallimage’s Brussels equivalent, screen.brussels, which was founded in 2016.
On the cinema side of things, 20 features were backed last year by Wallimage. While the number of international co-productions remained stable, it is worth highlighting that the number of projects of Belgian initiative is on a downward trend. Nevertheless, Wallimage’s 2017 line-up included the new films by Joachim Lafosse (Keep Going) and David Lambert (Troisième Noces [+see also:
interview: David Lambert
film profile]), two feature debuts and, interestingly, two animated features. At screen.brussels, support for Belgian features was spread over a dozen titles, some extremely high profile (the two aforementioned films, in addition to the new movies by Fabrice du Welz, Olivier Masset-Depasse, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and Stijn Coninx), as well as others that would seem to be gambles on the future of film, with a handful of debut efforts, including The Mercy of the Jungle by Joel Karekezi, For a Happy Life by Salima Glamine and Dimitri Linder, and Escapada by Sarah Hirtt.
What also sets these two funds apart is clearly the attention they pay to international productions shot in Belgium, or those which call on Belgian talents or service providers. The list of the projects supported in this regard is particularly prestigious, as we come across the names Bertrand Blier, Thomas Vinterberg, Jacques Audiard and Ari Folman, to name but a few. We should note that the two funds also offer a more structural form of support in terms of investment and training to the companies they back, which contributes even more to the staying power of a healthy audiovisual industry in Brussels and Wallonia.
(Translated from French)
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