ARTE Distribution has signed a first co-production deal with Bilibili, China’s largest and most popular culture and entertainment online platform for young people.

After 700 Sharks, Diving with the Coelacanth and Expedition Antarctica, Laurent Ballesta and his team have yet again challenged themselves to a new world record: spend 28 days at a depth of 120 meters, pushing the limits of their body to reveal the luxuriant and 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, test the quality of the water and biodiversity. A human, technical and scientific premiere that reveals vast unexplored territories, luxurious gardens, and the finest tropical coral reefs.

©Laurent Ballesta. Courtesy of ARTE Distribution.

Bo Zhang, Bilibili’s Head of International co-productions explains: “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.”

©Laurent Ballesta. Courtesy of ARTE Distribution.

Céline Payot Lehmann, Head of ARTE Distribution explains: “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.”

Produced by French indie Les Gens Biens Productions and ARTE France, 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.