“Filming the France Télévisions show “Germinal” – which plays in the TV Series Competition of this week’s EnergaCamerimage Film Festival – felt a lot like leading a band of rebels in an uprising against the old guard, says cinematographer Xavier Dolléans.

“It was a challenge,” he says of the six-part adaptation of the classic Émile Zola novel. The in-depth, nuanced portrait of the lives of French coal miners and their courage in standing together to demand reforms needed epic scale to work, Dolléans says.

The only trouble was that France Télévisions until now hasn’t really been known for such ambitious projects – in fact, to shoot a sequence depicting miners trapped in a flooded chamber, the crew had to head to Belgium to find a water tank in which a set can be easily submerged.”

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