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"Producers, funds, distributors, festivals and platforms have a new tool for scouting projects from these regions"

Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World

Enrico Chiesa, Hakim Mao, Murielle Thierrin and Francis Nebot • Coordinator, expert and producers, OuiCoprod

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VENICE 2021: An interview with the coordinator and one of the experts behind the professional platform designed to support South-South co-productions, accompanied by two selected producers

Enrico Chiesa, Hakim Mao, Murielle Thierrin and Francis Nebot • Coordinator, expert and producers, OuiCoprod
(from left to right) Producer Francis Nebot, Initiative Film's Hakim Mao, producer Murielle Thierrin, OIF's Enrico Chiesa and director Guetty Felin

During the Venice Production Bridge of the 78th Venice Film Festival, we talked with Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie - OIF's Enrico Chiesa and Initiative Film's Hakim Mao about OuiCoprod, the new platform for cinema professionals launched with the support of the European Union and the ACP (African States, Caribbean and Pacific Organisation), accompanied by producers Murielle Thierrin (A Rooster on A Fire Escape, Haiti) and Francis Nebot (3 Cold Dishes in Abidjan, Nigeria/Burkina Faso).

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Full information on the 50 film projects selected is available here.

Cineuropa: Can you explain the reason-why and how-to of OuiCoprod, the new platform launched by the OIF, which you presented this morning at the Venice Production Bridge?
Enrico Chiesa:
African films have made it to the top of Class-A Festivals and Afro-descending content is all over the streaming platforms: producers and sales agents are aware of that and are seeking projects from these “new regions”. They are not that new to OIF, indeed our fund alone receives 500+ projects from Africa and Haiti every year. OuiCoprod was designed to be a very simple tool, free-to-use, that showcases the best of these projects to partners from the world over, producers, investors, funds, labs, agents, distributors, TVs or festivals. We now have 54 projects online, of all genres & formats, half are still in development, a few others in post-production, but all of them have gone through a strict selection and have received some funding (from 10 to 200k€) and due consultancy. Our ambition is to provide a trustful bridge between the Western film-ecosystem and the talents we support in the South. The OIF is present in Venice as a founding partner of Final Cut but also because the film professionals interested in the Gap Financing Market may find interest in OuiCoprod too. 5-6 producers that we supported have been selected at the GFM or at Final Cut in 2021.

Murielle Thierrin, you are present at the GFM with A Rooster on a Fire Escape, can you tell us about the film and about your objectives?
Murielle Thierrin: A Rooster on a Fire Escape, written by Guetty Felin (Ayiti Mon Amour, selected at Toronto, Cartagena and Fespaco in 2017 and shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film), is a screenplay which was among the selected projects at the Atelier du Festival de Cannes 2018, IFP New York 2019 and Venice Gap 2021. It’s a coming-of-age story spanning 12 years about family love and sacrifice, exploring politics in Haiti and immigrant status in America.

Produced by myself on behalf of Aldabra Films and co-produced by BelleMoon (Haiti), A Rooster on a Fire Escape was acquired by TV5 Monde and Canal+ Antilles. The feature film also benefits from the support of the French Guiana Region, the OIF-ACP and CNC's Aide au cinéma du monde programme.

We are looking to secure 500k more of funding to bring to completion our budget of 1.8m, and also to attach US, Canadian or UK partners. Our goal at the VGF is to meet distributors, buyers, sales agents and potential investors (equity).

Francis Nebot, you produce “New African films,” can you tell us more about that?
Francis Nebot:
Last month we received what is probably the first A-festival award for a Nigerian film with Juju Stories [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
at Locarno, and we are now competing with Mami Wata at Final Cut Venice. The dream continues with our next project 3 Cold Dishes in Abidjan which was totally thought as the first co-production between English-speaking Africa and French-Speaking Africa, with the ambition of reaching an indie audience beyond Africa also. It’s a co-direction between two rising stars, Asurf Oluseyi from Nigeria whose 2 first features are already on Netflix, and Apolline Traoré (Burkina Faso) who swept 10 prizes at Fespaco 2017. 3 Cold Dishes in Abidjan tells the story of revenge of 3 top-notch call-girls against the men who broke their dreams and had them to fall into prostitution 17 years prior. It is a very dark comedy with a Panafrican cast (hopefully Angélique Kidjo). We wish to keep it low-budget (<400 K$), we already received the OIF-ACP support and are still looking for 200K and distribution partners.

Hakim Mao, you are Isabelle Fauvel’s associate at Initiative Film. What is you role at OuiCoprod?
Hakim Mao:
OuiCoprod is for us, at Initiative Film, a natural extension of missions that we were entrusted with by the OIF: advising the project holders on their script and creative development process and production strategy.

Isabelle Fauvel and I are in charge of the fiction part, feature and shorts, and our extensive knowledge of the projects present on the platform allows us to guide the project holders on the international market and lead the potential partners interested by projects from the ACP region to find the right match on the platform and connect them.

Professionals can access the platform here, sign in in 3 clicks and then browse the catalogue of talents and projects (including director’s & producer’s notes, budgets, etc.) and get in touch directly with the experts or project holders. It’s very simple and direct.

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OuiCoprod is a part of Clap ACP, a programme designed to support South-South co-productions, led by the OIF with the financial help of the EU and the support of the ACP Organisation.

Contacts : ouicoprod.org / enrico.chiesa@francophonie.org / hakim.mao@initiativefilm.com / thierrin@gmail.comfrancis@ifind.pictures

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