ARTE & China’s Bilibili Team for Deep-Sea Doc


ARTE Distribution has inked its first co-production deal with the Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili for the nature doc The Deep Med.

Laurent Ballesta and his team have challenged themselves to a new world record: spend 28 days at a depth of 120 meters, pushing the limits of their bodies to reveal the unknown depths of the Mediterranean. In July 2019, the divers spent a month in a pressurized 55-sq-ft cabin (5 sq meters) allowing them to dive and film several times a day in complete freedom and without time limit. The expedition allowed them to collect rare and sometimes unknown specimens to test the quality of the water and biodiversity.

Produced by French indie Les Gens Biens  (LGB) Productions and ARTE France and directed by Gil Kebaili, Deep Med will premiere on ARTE’s Saturday night prime-time slot in the fall in a 90’ version. A 52’ version is available for international distribution.

Bo Zhang, Bilibili’s head of international co-productions, commented: “From Océans, Le peuple migrateur and La marche de l’empereur, Chinese audience have known and fallen in love with the unmistakably French style documentary about nature. Now we’re excited to partner with the top-notch broadcaster ARTE and production house LGB from France on the next great one, The Deep Med. Bilibili’s audience will be expecting a feast of never-seen-before images of the deep med, the record-breaking 28 days underwater expedition and what’s more important, the calling to protect nature. Bilibili, as the major documentary co-production online platform in China, will be looking forward to more projects to work with ARTE.”

Céline Payot Lehmann, head of ARTE Distribution, said: “It’s always exciting to be working on a world premiere. The Deep Med adventure feels like an expedition to the moon and has the same ingredients, the thrill, the suspense, the extreme voyage, the incredible visuals and a successful team in the end. We are absolutely thrilled about this first major deal with Bilibili. ARTE produces about five major scientific expeditions a year for our prime time science slot, and we hope that this will pave the path to future co-productions with Bilibili.”