Annecy 2024: Fortiche revealed an impressive scene from Arcane season 2

Annecy 2024: Fortiche revealed an impressive scene from Arcane season 2

For an hour, the festival audience attended a making-of on season 2 of Arcane – with never-before-seen images and filming secrets. We were there.

Released in 2021, season 1 ofArcana took everyone by surprise. Adapted from the world of League of Legendsthe series told the tragic fate of two sisters (Vi and Jinx), two young women who must survive in a world steampunk where an ancestral magic resurfaced. The series succeeded in reconciling darkness and emotion, the intimate and the spectacular thanks to a sublime DA and a reservoir of mind-blowing mythological stories.

From the launch, the figures were dizzying: Arcana immediately slipped into the top 5 of the most watched TV series on Netflix, winning 4 Emmys in the process. And behind this success, we found a French studio, Fortiche, “small” Parisian animation company, specialized in clips and 3D videos, which had managed to impose its know-how and its aesthetic skillfully mixing 2D, 3D and punk spirit.

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Almost naturally, four years later, here is season 2. The last too. It therefore required four years of writing and production for six hours of animation in the end (and 9000 shots). Nearly 500 people will have worked on this project. And it was in Annecy that we were able to see the first exclusive images.

After releasing a teaser which panicked fans at the start of the week, the team present in the small Bonlieu room chose to dissect a particular scene from this season 2.

The brand of the Fortiche studio is therefore this 3D style with a resolutely 2D look, mixing arty influence and look animated. We saw this for the first time in the clips of Jérôme Combe (one of the founders of the studio) for La Gaviota, or in the capsules they produced for Gorillaz. This aesthetic originates from the authors' shared passion for video games, comics and venerated cinema. This is what appealed to the clip Get Jinxed (first teaser of the LOL universe and founding act of the studio) and in certain particular moments of season 1. Indeed, Fortiche regularly streaks its stories with signature sequences. These are pure dynamic stases, almost like cutscenes, driven by music and ambiance; small capsules, very spectacular filmic feats, which advance the story in a uniquely sensory way.

This is one of these passages that the team presented yesterday morning. Barthelemy Maunoury, creative director, Christine Ponzevera, producer, Arnaud-Loris Baudry, production designer and screenwriter Amanda Overton spoke for an hour about the creative process of a scene.

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Season 2 continues to explore Vi and Jinx's relationship through the series' midpoint, but both sisters are seriously evolving. And one scene particularly symbolizes Vi's mental journey. Christine Ponzevera explains: “Vi is a protective hero. This is its definition, its reason for being. But in season 2, we wanted to go further with this character. The question was simple: what would happen if Vi was alone, with no one left to protect? What would happen if she only had herself to manage? This is the meaning of this sequence which is found in the middle of season 2. It is a musical video, an ultra-cut montage which makes us feel the symbolic fall of Vi. It is his descent into hell, his dereliction. And we wanted the viewer to understand that organically. »

In season 2, Vi becomes a boxer who fights in underground arenas. In very cut-up shots, the sequence shows her confronting different adversaries, triumphing, taking hits, then going to a club where alcohol flows freely, returning, sometimes stoned, to her shabby apartment before collapsing on her mattress disgusting. And go back for a round.

“We wanted to show Vi lost, adds Arnaud-Loris. She no longer has a home, her life is made up of fights and violence, and she navigates between the fighting pit, the bar and her room. »

The four speakers then returned to the different stages of creation, revealing storyboardsexplaining the fundamental work on colors and lighting (lighting) before developing the process at length character design. “Vi is going through an identity crisis, Ponzevera continues. She tries to run away from herself, she hides. That's why we imagined this dyed hair, these long locks that cover her face a bit like a mask. We wanted Vi to be as iconic as possible, to have something very warlike about her too. » We also see in the mood board of this design from the photos of Charlize Theron in Furiosa.

Another important step is clothing. For this scene, the studio imagined a particular look for Vi and in particular a studded leather jacket, decorated with a magnificent badge/logo representing a two-headed wolf – “a way of remembering that in the game, Vi was a jungle slayer and that she beats two wolves at one point…”, according to Baudry.

Finally, Baudry, always himself, returns to the more general look of the sequence. THE mood boards summon Game of Thrones, Vanilla Sky, Trainspotting (for bar atmospheres) and Snatch (for boxing plans). Musical references (“essential in our work”, insists the production designer) range from “God Save the Queen” Sex Pistols or Pixies “Nevermind” of Nirvana. It was also on a song from this group that the scene was edited. The editor had in fact chosen “Territorial Pissings” of Nirvana as temporary music. The composer who designed the music for this sequence then slipped into the rhythms of the montage to imagine a powerful, sharp, dark and bitter, which sticks to the character's existential spiral. Particular care (especially on this stage) was given to the music. ” Believe me, insists Arnaud-Loris, I'm very particular about synchronization between image and sound, but it turns out that our composer was even more so. »

Finally for the atmosphere, one of the major references was the photo of Darius Khondji on Seven.

The result ? A short mind-blowing minute, of punk, edgy cinema, which makes you think of Fight Club on acid, and manages to synthesize the game, destroy film influences and punk music at full blast.

If the entire season 2 even comes close to matching such a sequence, then Arcana should set the platform on fire. Hailee Steinfeld (Vi), Ella Purnell (Jinx), Katie Leung (Caitlyn) will return to the voice cast next November. Then the parent series will give way to other series derived from the franchise League of Legends.

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