Canal Plus’ ‘Infiniti’, made with Studiocanal, arches at Canneseries

Bowing down in the Canneseries Official Selection, the six-part miniseries Infiniti isn’t just for sci-fi fans, said Eric Laroche, producer of Empreinte Digitale diversity.

Co-produced by France and Belgium and developed by Stéphane Pannetier and Julien Vanlerenberghe, Canal Plus’ latest offering weaves multiple storylines, moving from the International Space Station (ISS) that suddenly falls silent to an investigation in Kazakhstan, where a decapitated wax-covered body found by local police officer.

Discouraged by his superiors, Isaak (Daniyar Alshinov) decides to solve the mystery while French astronaut Anna Zarathi (Céline Sallette) pursues her dream of space travel.

“Having more than one genre, especially in a TV series, is very interesting. But one of them has yet to form the skeleton of the show. In our case, it’s crime,” says Laroche.

“I’m not a big traveller, but I live for movies and series. When I first went to New York, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m in a movie.’ When I went to Japan, I kept saying, ‘I’m in a Miyazaki movie, in a Koreeda movie.’ When I went to Kazakhstan I said: ‘I don’t know where I am.’ I have never been on a journey like this.”

While Paris-based Empreinte Digitale continues to mix genres with Disney Plus fantasy Parallels and upcoming Netflix show The 7 Lives of Lea, which will feature time travel and body swapping, she already has the Critics Jury Award at MipDrama in 2017 won for the science fiction series “Missions”.

“There is a connection, particularly in terms of production. We already know how to create something with lots of visual effects. We learned it with Missions and confirmed it with Infiniti,” says Laroche. But the ambitious scope of the series initially deterred potential broadcasters.

“A lot of them said it wasn’t the kind of story they usually make. Others said, “It’s great, but it’s never going to happen.” We asked the writers to finish the first episode because we thought that if no one wants the series in France, maybe we could look for another partner abroad. And then come back and say, “See? The British think it’s possible’.”

With Canal Plus on board, the producers chose to shoot primarily in English despite an international cast, with the likes of The Whistlers star Vlad Ivanov and Ukrainian-born Anatolii Panchenko. Six languages ​​were spoken on set, which was both “scary and exciting,” adds Laroche.

“Infiniti” star Céline Sallette appreciated the “poetic, mythical and metaphorical” approach of the authors, as well as the complexity of the characters, each grappling with their respective traumas.

“The nice thing about Anna is that you look at this spatial dream from an intimate perspective. This dream does not come true for her – she had this seizure. It was a failure, but she will find herself step by step. It was really nice to explore,” she says.

Laroche adds, “This is the most important rule of any show – you can create the most amazing set-up, you can take the audience to a place they’ve never been, but if the characters aren’t interesting, they won’t come back. I’ve always said we all love Six Feet Under, but not because of the funeral home. It was because of this family.”

There are currently no plans for the second season, but “everything is possible,” says Laroche.

“From the beginning we said, ‘This is a miniseries.’ When the writers presented the story to us, they told us how it would end. That’s why it’s so well written – you have to know where you’re going.”

“Infiniti” was filmed in France, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and current events proved difficult for the entire team.

“Viewers won’t know we filmed there – it’s not part of the story. That’s why we decided it’s our duty to talk about Ukraine during the interviews,” says Laroche. On Monday, when the series is released on Canal Plus, there will be a special introduction before the first episode.

“We were in Ukraine for two and a half months: when you work on something that difficult, there is a connection. When the war started we contacted everyone and tried to help them. We sent money, basic necessities. This is very important to us.”

“We see Ukrainians filling sandbags on the beach, building defenses, but also playing drums and filling this place with loud music, beer and power. They are escaping mental terror,” adds Sallette, wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

“Now when I text Ilya, who ran our amazing stunt crew, he says, ‘We’re fine. We are working towards our victory.” They are the real heroes today because they are not intimidated by fear. Or by this man.”

“Heroism doesn’t mean being successful in everything you do or being strong all the time. It has something to do with failure – the kind of failure you have to overcome. You survive and emerge victorious. You defeat your monsters,” she says.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/global/infiniti-canneseries-canal-plus-studiocanal-1235222771/ Canal Plus’ ‘Infiniti’, made with Studiocanal, arches at Canneseries

Charles Jones

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