Orange, Besson launch web venture

Public invited to engage with project

PARIS — Telco Orange and Luc Besson’s powerhouse EuropaCorp are teaming up to launch, a web platform allowing users to participate in every stage of a film’s production, promotion and theatrical release.

The partnership was unveiled by Besson, Orange content division topper, Xavier Couture, and former culture minister, Christine Albanel, at a press conference held in Paris on Friday.

Besson said one of the main goals of the operation is to create a dialogue between producers and their film audiences and scale down piracy. “Hopefully when users see all the challenges that producers face while making a film, they’ll understand why we fight against piracy,” said Besson.

EuropaCorp has already pre-selected five synopsis — a romcom, a comedy, a romantic drama, a thriller and a detective film — which were revealed Friday on the website. Users from all around the world will get a chance to pick the best synopsis and vote on all decisions — from the plot and casting to the choice of location and date of release.

The first 10,000 participants will have their names listed in the credits.

EuropaCorp will also take coin from users who wish to become co-producers. The minimum bid is 10 euros ($12) and users’ coin is capped at 25% of the total budget. But Besson pointed out the film will be made regardless of the users’ financial participation.

Pic is expected to be released in the fall of 2011. Couture said Orange Cinema Series has already committed to pre-buying the film. Studio 37, a subsid of France Telecom-Orange, might come on board as a co-producer.

Meanwhile, EuropaCorp, which is a listed company, will also develop the four other films that won’t be pursued by the “weareproducteurs” community.

Budgets on the five projects range from $6.18 million to $12.3 million. “We’ve chosen projects with reasonable budgets,” explained Besson.

Web users and co-producers will be able to interact and keep up with the project’s latest news on various social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as watch and exchange videos. Besson has also gathered up a flurry of French film directors, thesps, scribes and key technicians to form a college of experts to comment on the project’s development and share their expertise.

“ is in line with our commitment to back projects combining technical innovation and creativity,” said Couture.

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