In Production

Belgian pubcaster RTBF tackles a true story of old predictions and new realities, living proof and dying paradigms, with Memoires d'Avenir.
February 7, 2001

‘In 1970, we dreamed of the year 2000. Today, can we dream of 2030?’ That’s the question that got the ball rolling for RTBF producer Bill Binnemans in Belgium, whose new three-part series, Memoires d’Avenir, will launch in April. It is a humorous documentary essay on how we see the future, coproduced by RTBF, France 3, TSR in Switzerland, Tele-Quebec and RDI in Canada. The budget was US$1 million and was funded entirely by the public broadcasters.

What’s unique is the series reuses archives from an old ’70s show by David Lachterman and Louis Boxus, Photographie du Futur – a 10-part series that looked through the clairvoyant lenses of soothsaying experts into the year 2000. ‘Most of what they expected to happen did, but not in the way they thought,’ says Binnemans, who wondered how the same type of people see the future today.

‘Reusing this programming is like opening up a will 30 years later,’ Binnemans notes. One returning interviewee, Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski of Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., is asked the same questions, only 30 years later. Old black-and-white footage is mixed with new color images to create a montage. Each show segment has its own topic and color theme: blue for ‘Living’, green for ‘Producing’ and red for ‘Communicating’.

Two of three programs are now complete and the third will be ready by mid-March. Memoires will premiere on RTBF first, in April, and follow as local programming in Switzerland, France and Canada.

About The Author