Philippe Reynaert, Virginie Nouvelle and Jean-François Tefnin • Wallimage
"Our ability to adapt means that we can accommodate the changes shaking up the industry"
by Aurore Engelen
- We met up with Philippe Reynaert, Virginie Nouvelle and Jean-François Tefnin to discuss Wallimage’s recent budget increase and company restructuring
Philippe Reynaert, director of Wallimage, Virginie Nouvelle, director of Wallimage Entreprises and Jean-François Tefnin, head of Wallimage Tournage, tell us about the Walloon company's recent budget increase and restructuring.
Philippe Reynaert: A year ago, we had to deal with some structural blockages following changes in French tax credits and a change in the sorts of productions that were offered to us, particularly in terms of co-producing companies. Goodbye France, hello Spain, Italy and Ireland...
In order to convince our new Minister that we needed an increase in funding, we made a rather unusual calculation: we listed all the major productions that had been refused and calculated Wallonia's loss of earnings. The calculation has paid off, since then we have benefited from a 30% increase in budget, from €5 to €6.5 million per year for Wallimage Coproduction.
The change was beneficial. When we launched Wallimage 17 years ago, we were pretty much alone in the market, but the sector has grown internationally (be it due to French tax credits, Luxembourg funding or the German Länder) as well as on a national level with Screen Flanders and screen.brussels creations. Especially since the last two companies suffered an 800% fallout, thus escalating the need for regional funds. We’re personally convinced that we can’t exceed a 500% fallout.
We’re also hoping to tackle new broadcasting methods and have supported various audiovisual projects (both film and television) for a long time. We were very proud recently to produce our first Netflix production, The Most Assassinated Woman in the World [+see also:
interview: Franck Ribière
film profile]. We're also adding Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to our areas of expertise.
Virginie Nouvelle: WallimageEnterprises has been going for 10 years now. We support service providers in the audiovisual sector either through equity participation, loans, or sometimes both. The increase in our budget (+€2.6 million) will enable us to strengthen our traditional areas of activity, and to be more attentive to the gaming sector in particular, which is currently underfunded in Belgium.
It's worth pointing out that Wallimage Entreprises' profile is very original on the European scene and makes us very attractive to international companies looking to set up European branches.
Especially since these days, Wallimage offers 360-degree support, from financing companies to co-productions and actual shoots...
Jean-François Tefnin: Wallimage is now integrating the Walloon regional film offices into its new Wallimage Tournage department, in order to give itself the means to work across sections more easily, and to simplify procedures for producers wishing to work in Wallonia. The idea is to be able to follow up with a single representative regardless of the province, and to position ourselves on an equal footing with other European regions, which have already been centralised for a long time.
PR: In fact, Wallimage is now going to offer "full services" to Belgian and foreign producers. Since our founding, we have worked towards structuring the Walloon audiovisual sector, and we intend to put in all the effort we can to ensure that our continues, and to stabilise our requirements for a 500% fallout of Walloon expenditures for our partners in the long term.
We are aware that Brussels remains very attractive for foreign shoots thanks to its hotel capacity and services, but our ability to adapt, our flexibility thanks to our SA structure, and the field work we do with producers should allow us to sustain our work continues, embracing changes that are shaking up the industry, as evidenced by the shift we have seen in recent months towards supporting more and more genre films, for example.
(Translated from French)
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