SCREENDAILY January 11th, 2017 | by Melanie Goodfellow
EXCLUSIVE: Indie Sales unveils first image of female soccer comedy.
Paris-based Indie Sales has unveiled a first image of French director Julien Hallard’s comedy Let The Girls Play inspired by the creation of France’s first official all-female soccer squad in the 1960s.
Described as social comedy in the vein of Bend It Like Beckham, the film revolves around the early days of a real-life, all-women squad set up almost by chance on the fringes of France’s Stade de Reims football club at the end of the 1960s.
Although women have played soccer for centuries, female teams only started to be recognised by official football bodies in countries such as France and the UK in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Rising French actors Vanessa Guide and Max Boublil [pictured] are co-stars in the mainly female cast.
Frédéric Jouve of Paris-based Les Films Velvet – the long-time producer of Rebecca Zlotowski (Planetarium, Grand Central, Belle Epine) whose recent credits also include skiing comedy Good Luck Algeria – is the lead producer.
Indie Sales will kick off sales at Unifrance’s Rendez-vous with French cinema in Paris this week (Jan 12-16) where it will show a first promo reel.
It is the debut feature for Hallard after a number of festival shorts including People Are Strange, Hair, Vinyl and Meeting Vincent Gallo. He co-wrote the script with Jean-Christophe Bouzy (Raw) and Claude Le Pape (Love At First Fight).
“We’re very proud and happy to start working with Frédéric Jouve on this exciting comedy. Let The Girls Play is in the vein of Bend It Like Beckham. We’ll be showing an exclusive promo in Paris and Berlin,” said Indie Sales chief Nicolas Eschbach.
The film is in post-production for release by Mars Films in the second half of 2017.
Read full article HERE
VARIETY January 10th, 2017 | by Elsa Keslassy
Paris-based company Indie Sales has acquired Teddy Lussi-Modeste’s sophomore feature, “The Price of Success” (“Un vrai batard”), a drama starring a topnotch French cast headlined by Tahar Rahim (“The Past,””A Prophet”), Roschdy Zem (“Bodybuilder,””Days of Glory”) and Maiwenn (“Polisse,””Love is the Perfect Crime”).
Co-written by Lussi-Modeste and Rebecca Zlotowski (“Planetarium”), “The Price of Success” tells the tale of Brahim, a stand-up comedian from a working-class family whose success destroys his relationship with his family.
Lussi-Modeste previously teamed with Zlotowski to write the script of his directorial debut “Jimmy Riviera,” a critical success and won the Audience Award at Angers, among other prizes.
A personal project for Lussi-Modeste, “The Price of Success” describes the struggle of a man trying to break free of his family’s expectations.
“The Price of Success” is produced by Kazak Productions, an up-and-coming Paris-based outfit whose credits include “The Wakhan Front” and “Corporate,” both of which are handled by Indie Sales.
Nicolas Eschbach, the boss of Indie Sales, said he was enthusiastic about re-teaming Kazak Productions, a company led by “bold young producers.” Eschbach also identified Lussi-Modeste as talent to watch.
One of the key assets of “The Price of Success” is its attractive cast. Rahim, for instance, is well-known for his critically-acclaimed roles in Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” and Asghar Fahradi’s “The Past” which won prizes in Cannes. Meanwhile, Maiwenn, the high-profile actress-turned-director of “Polisse,” stars in very few films — “The Price of Success” marks her first acting job since “Love is the Perfect Crime.”
“The Price of Success” also boasts a strong key crew, including Julien Poupard, the cinematographer behind Houda Benyamina’s Golden Globe nominated “Divines,” and Julien Lacheray, the well-seasoned editor of Celine Sciamma’s “Girlhood” and Zlotowski’s “Grand Central.”
“The Price of Success” is currently in post-production. Ad Vitam will release the film in France later this year. Indie Sales will likely score deals on the movie at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous mini-market in Paris.
The French company is also starting pre-sales on “Blind Spot” (“Dode Hoek”), an ambitious crime thriller directed by popular Belgian helmer Nabil Ben Yadir (“The Marchers”). Set in Flemish Belgium, “Blind Spot” turns on Jan Verbeek, an uncomprising police commissioner working for the Antwerp drug squad. Known as ‘Mr. Zero Tolerance,’ Verbeek is just about to retire from the police force to join a Far-Right party. But on his last day as a cop, Verbeek leads a massive drug raid which set off a series of unforeseeable and violent events.
Lensed by Robrecht Heyvaert (“The Ardennes,””Black”), “Blind Spot” stars Peter Van Den Begin (“The Ardennes”), David Murgia (“The Brand New Testament,””Bullhead”), Soufiane Chilah (“Black”) and Jan Decleir (“Daens”). Ben Yadir teamed with Laurent Brandenbourger, his co-writer on “Les Barons,” a Belgian comedy hit.
Set for a premiere at Berlin, the film was produced by Ben Yadir and two of Belgium’s leading producers: Peter Bouckaert, who is behind “Bullhead,” “The Verdict” and “Treatment,” and Benoit Roland, whose credits include “Wrong Elements,””Prejudice” and “Pilgrimage.”
“It’s a true crime film with very contemporary topics in the background, driven by a talented director and a remarkable addition to our line up,” said Eschbach.
Read full article HERE
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER December 5th, 2016 | by Jonathan Holland
A sensitively told tale of female loneliness and vulnerability in the backstreets of Mexico City, Lucia Carreras’ Tamara and the Ladybug is a tale of against-the-odds female solidarity, which successfully rounds it out into something more than pure miserabilism. Driven by a masterful central performance from Angeles Cruz and a script that focuses on quiet emotional truths,Ladybug does have dramatic defects, and its intentions are not always matched by its execution. But such flaws have not stood in the way of success on its recent festival outings, with more foreseeably on the way for this third feature from a Mexican woman director with an increasingly high profile.
In the first scene, Paco (Harold Torres) ups and leaves the rundown home he’s been sharing with his 40ish, developmentally disabled sister Tamara (Angeles Cruz) and her pet lizard in the outskirts of the city. Tamara prepares for her day and heads for work at a run-down coffee shop; slowly it dawns on her that her brother will not be coming home anytime soon.
So that when she spots a baby she’ll later name Ladybug (Taby Regina) seemingly abandoned at a newsstand, it seems logical to the newly lonely Tamara that she should take the child home as a kind of pet. But Tamara doesn’t have the wit to look after it, so it’s lucky that the aging, principled local quesadilla stall owner Dona Meche (Angelina Pelaez) comes round to take both Tamara and her ladybug under her wing in a domestic setup that is, of course, desperately fragile from the outset. After all, Tamara has effectively kidnapped someone else’s baby.
Three generations, three females, isolated and vulnerable for three different social reasons: It’s a neat, clean-edged concept. The script takes it in two directions at once — first as a general study of human solitude, but second as a criticism of governmental lack of humanity in dealing with such solitude, as embodied in visits first to the police and then to a home for missing children — a brief but terrible experience for Dona Meche, who has Tamara’s evocatively shot and resonant final scene, like so much of the film shot by Ivan Hernandez at a fastidious mid-distance and with dull coloration that at times verges on monochrome.
Pacing is slow, in strict accord with Tamara’s own mental habits, without ever decelerating into the endless shots of (say) frying food so beloved of some Latin American filmmakers; again following Tamara’s character, there’s little dialogue, but what there is is telling. Occasionally the script makes an attempted detour into comic relief, as with a running joke involving the two women’s struggles to understand a cellphone. Far from being comic, the scenes show the women to be bonding over their mutual ignorance, and the comedy is best when in fleeting, glancing mode.
Given little to do in the way of dialogue, Cruz is obliged to construct the role of Tamara from the physical, and does so magnificently, if sometimes overstatedly. Tamara is a child, and every time joy or sadness pass through her mind, there it is in her frank, open expression; her loping, determined gait likewise quickly becomes a part of the character. The compact sobriety of acting vet Pelaez’s Dona Meche forms a nice counterpoint, while special mention should be made of the beautifully directed baby Taby Regina, whose reactions at every stage of the game are spot on, including a lovely moment of (presumably inadvertent) humor involving some water thrown over a diaper.
Read full article HERE
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER September 26th, 2016 | By Boyd van Hoeij
French-Malinese filmmaker Daouda Coulibaly's debut feature is a West-African take on 'Scarface'.
Sick of his dead-end job, an ambitious 20-year-old bus driver from Mali manages to become a successful drug runner instead in Wulu, the feature debut from Marseille-born French-Malian director Daouda Coulibaly. As much a cautionary tale with a familiar rise-and-fall structure — a West-African Scarface, if you will — as it is a drama grounded in reality, this modest but well-executed crowdpleaser will likely travel far and wide after its Angouleme and Toronto premieres.
Ladji (Ibrahim Koma, impressive) has been a prantiké (a driver of vans used for transporting passengers) for five years but the kind-hearted youngster’s goal — earn enough money so that his older sister (singer Inna Modja, good) can stop prostituting herself — still feels as far away as the day he started. Knowing a thing or two about transport, he decides to call in a favor from a drug dealer he knows and change jobs. But already on his first run, transporting cannabis and then coke to and from Senegal in a truck that contains meat and then fish, things don’t go as planned. Luckily, Ladji is a smart young man and the fact he manages to save the day impresses not his boss — who, upon his return, he finds brutally murdered — but the boss of his boss (Olivier Rabourdin).
It’s through details such as these that Coulibaly, who also wrote the script, suggests he knows what the demands of the genre are but that he also likes to stay one step ahead of the audience where possible while clever storytelling and cutting quickly alternates enormous highs and lows. The surprise and mounting tension of the unexpected stop at the border, for example, is followed by the euphoria of having outsmarted the authorities. But sandwiched between the joy over this victory and the excitement over meeting the big boss lies a gruesome killing that not only modulates the sequence’s rhythm and tone but also suggests something of the brutality of the milieu and possibly foreshadows things to come.
For the higher-ups, Ladji and his buddies-cum-associates (Ismael N’Diaye, Jean-Marie Traoré) become assets they can use in ever more complex and dangerous drug-running operations. When they’re asked to drive to Timbuktu in jeeps, right into territory controlled by Al-Qaeda, it has become impossible for the protagonist to say “no,” though clearly this can’t end well.
This shadow of impending doom hangs over the entire trip and is cleverly used by the director to not only increase the already frequently feverish tension but also to explore and comment on local political realities. In fact, the film is set in the run-up to the 2012 Mali Civil War, in which the Tuaregs and Islamists battled it out for control of Northern Mali, a struggle that was further complicated by a military coup and the collapse of the government at the national level. Though Ladji’s only a drug runner, his get-rich-quick dreams, which predictably spiral out of control, can thus be read as a cautionary piece of advice for the country’s rebels who also hope to unselfishly better the lives of those around them but who, in their efforts to do so, might be finding themselves tapping into forces they can’t control.
The beauty of Wulu is that even without any knowledge of the political situation in Mali, the film also works as a straightforward rollercoaster genre ride. This is due not only to its screenplay, editing and direction but also because Paris-born actor Ibrahim Koma, acting in Bambara and French, makes Ladji such a likeable and optimistic protagonist, so audiences will be rooting for him even though he’s clearly making a lot of wrong decisions for the right reasons. The film’s foretold but very understated ending, which keeps a key moment offscreen to devastating effect, again confirms that Coulibaly is a talent to watch.
More informations HERE.
VARIETY September 24th, 2016 | By Pamela Pianezza
Like a Malian riff on Brian De Palma's 'Scarface,' this tale of a fast-rising drug dealer reps an auspicious debut.
Tired of his impoverished life on the streets of Bamako, and waiting for a promotion that never comes, a young bus driver decides to apply his knowledge of the transportation industry to a new career as a drug trafficker in Daouda Coulibaly’s “Wùlu.” An occasionally over-ambitious but constantly absorbing thriller, this auspicious African debut intelligently connects the rise and fall of a ruthless worker to the political events that led up to Mali’s 2012 coup d’état. Structured like so many local-area tales, but delivered with a pulse-pounding thrust that’s all but unique among African cinema, “Wùlu” should make a safe, energetic pick for festivals and distributors wishing to diversify their lineups.
Whereas most of the African films to reach Western audiences feature characters whose hope for a better future lies abroad, “Wùlu” protagonist Ladji (Ibrahim Koma) dreams of a sweeter life but never so much as considers fleeing his home country. That choice speaks volumes about the intentions of French-born director Coulibaly, who is of Malian descent and aims to question West Africa contemporary history from an insider’s perspective.
Smart and quiet, young Ladji is a model prantiké (bus driver): He knows all the tricks to choose the right clients to fill his vehicle and the company coffers. A promotion would only be fair, but instead, he discovers that his boss’ nephew got the advancement in his place. Livid, Ladji rushes to Driss, a drug dealer who owes him a favor. All he asks is money to buy his own van, which will then provide the perfect cover to transport drugs, since cops usually avoid controlling those loud and overfilled public buses. Business goes well — so well that soon enough, Ladji and his two friends and partners in crime Houphouet (Jean-Marie Traoré) and Zol (Ismaël N’Diaye) are contacted by a shifty French businessman (Olivier Rabourdin) who offers them to go international and start delivering to neighboring countries.
The low-level transit worker is now a rich man who had himself built a gigantic house where his older sister Aminata, an ex-prostitute now professional party girl (played by Malian singer Inna Modja), organizes fancy feasts. But Ladji doesn’t seem happy, starting to realize that money can’t buy him the respectability he needs to date the beautiful and elegant Assitan (Mariame N’Diaye) and that keeping up such a luxurious lifestyle, money is about to run short anyway.
Everything moves fast in “Wùlu,” and the ease with which Ladji goes from honest citizen to top criminal surprises at first. But Coulibaly doesn’t give his character (or his audience) time for reflection. Soon enough, the young man is caught in a spiral of events that overwhelm him, when he has to deal with corrupt officials and when the drug trade moves into Al-Qaeda territory.
Veteran French DP Pierre Milon (“The Class”) brings an appealing radiance to this unusual plunge into Bamako’s underworld. Ladji’s fast rise from the bottom step of the social ladder to the heights of criminal power obviously recalls Tony Montana’s bloody trajectory in Brian De Palma’s “Scarface,” but with less recourse to violence and a perfectly impassive antihero. Part of what makes “Wùlu” so fresh derives from its hectic pace, which doesn’t prevent Coulibaly from adding an interesting political dimension to his suspenseful thriller, nor from incorporating Malian culture’s traditional five-step rite of passage, which should lead to wisdom, or the dog’s rite (from which the film derives its title). In “Wùlu,” Malian cinema has found a promising and intriguing new voice.
More information HERE.