The Wallonia-Brussels Federation Film Centre delivers its 2018 annual review
by Aurore Engelen
- Each year, at the end of March, the Belgian institution reviews the year gone by and the changes yet to come for the national film industry
Two days ago, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Film and Audiovisual Centre gathered together Belgian industry professionals to review key highlights of the year gone by, and changes and new opportunities which are on the national horizon. There were two main items of note this year.
First and foremost, the box-office success of Belgian French-language films. Drawing Belgian viewers into cinemas to watch local films has long been an uphill struggle for the public authorities, but two titles successfully rallied audiences to their cause in 2018: Mon Ket [+see also:
interview: François Damiens
film profile] by François Damiens (144,000 admissions) and So Help Me God [+see also:
interview: Jean Libon and Yves Hinant
film profile] by Yves Hinant and Jean Libon (76,000 admissions). This represents a 40% rise in viewers compared to 2017, but it is also the first time in many years that Belgian audience numbers have exceeded those of France.
The second highlight is the renewed success of Belgian TV series and, more specifically, the excellent results of The Break Season 2, which aired in autumn 2018. This confirms what we already knew; namely the growing importance of catch-up TV in the distribution of audiovisual works.
On this note, the Review broke new ground this year by inviting external speakers, starting with Lina Brounéus, who’s based in Amsterdam and is Director of Co-production and Acquisition at Netflix. Industry professionals were eager, to say the least, to find out what new opportunities the American giant could offer the Belgian sector. Looking to reassure attendees, she emphasised Netflix’s willingness to adapt itself to different territories and different uses, whether in terms of acquisition, co-production or content production. She then stressed that attendees shouldn’t hesitate to come forward with their projects.
Onwards and upwards is a theme also embraced by the Belgian Film Selection Commission, which aims to provide greater support for full-length fiction films by creating a new fund aimed at shoring up artistic development. This will ensure projects are more adequately supported during the fragile development phase, which often falls by the wayside in this “industry of prototypes”.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.