Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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Waternova

Waternova promises to be a consciousness expanding cinematic experience. From visionary filmmaker Martin Villeneuve (Mars et Avril) comes this character-driven sci-fi story about a select group of people escaping a dying planet Earth onboard an Ark powered by nature. It is an ecological fable about blind progress and climate change, brought to life by characters facing complex issues echoing many of the challenges that our current society is facing 1).

Images from REVOIR PARIS by François Schuiten & Benoît Peeters, published by Casterman © 2016 – All rights reserved

Belgian comic book master and Production Designer François Schuiten (The Golden Compass, Mr. Nobody, Mars et Avril) teams up once again with Martin Villeneuve in creating the story, characters and visual world of Waternova. The screenplay is written by Martin Villeneuve (Mars et Avril) and Ray Gower (Dark Corners), under the supervision of James V. Hart (Hook, Dracula, Contact, and the newly-released series The Hot Zone). Villeneuve will direct, while Pierre Even from Item 7 (C.R.A.Z.Y., War Witch, Brooklyn, The Hummingbird Project) and Claude Léger (Upside Down, Erased, Brick Mansions, Enter the Warriors Gate) from Transfilm International are producing 2).

The Space Ark under construction © 2019 – All rights belong to the artist

A world from the director

The summer of 2018 has seen extreme weather conditions shatter records and long-standing climate patterns the world over: Sweltering heat waves, violent thunderstorms, massive hurricanes, typhoons, flash-floods – the tragic and deadly list proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that Earth’s climate is radically changing. Yet many countries, including the world’s leading economy, the U.S. (under its current president), are still arguing that climate change is a “fiction invented by extremists”. Recently, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres sounded an even more-pressing alarm – warning that climate change is worsening faster than our efforts to combat it. “If we don’t change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us,” Guterres warned. “We are careening towards the edge of the abyss.”

Heavily polluted beach in Brazil © 2019 – All rights belong to the photographer

These chaotic and game-changing events set the backdrop for Waternova, a darkly-imaginative allegory about environmental concerns, echoing themes reported on the nightly news. The idea of building an Ark to save humankind from pending apocalypse dates back to biblical times. The core difference this time around is that in today’s world, the Ark isn’t needed in response to the wrath of some outside, vengeful god – but to flee from a catastrophe entirely of our own making, created and nurtured after centuries of blindly worshipping at the altar of our self-made deity, blind progress. In a quest to reach some distant, habitable exoplanet, the men and women onboard the ship must confront their own worst demons in search of finding a better balance and, towards the end, a solution to save the Earth. This film, ultimately, will be about finding our better angels, about renewal, about hope.

Distant, habitable exoplanet © 2019 – All rights belong to the artist

Supported by a passionate and experienced creative team, as director, it is my goal to deliver a gripping, fascinating and enlightening story. Our world must change, and drastically, if we are to survive. It must become – and us with it – a better place. And that transformation all starts with a dream. One movie obviously cannot change the world – yet I have always deeply believed in the power of cinema to raise awareness, and take that crucial key step to nourish our collective dreams and ambitions. That’s the fundamental reason why I want to make Waternova.

From left to right: Writer-Director Martin Villeneuve & Producer Claude Léger in Montreal / Screenwriters Ray Gower & Martin Villeneuve in London © 2018 – All rights reserved
From left to right: Production Designer François Schuiten, Writer-Director Martin Villeneuve & Storyboard Artist Sylvain Despretz in Southern France © 2018 – All rights reserved
From left to right: Script Editor James V. Hart, Writer-Director Martin Villeneuve & Producer Pierre Even in New York © 2019 – All rights reserved

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