The Spurs star player Boris Diaw has partnered with top-level international athletes to launch One Million Dollar Film, an equity venture to finance and produce movies.
One Million Dollar Film is teaming with Paris-based Les Enfants Terribles, co-founded by Yoel Dahan and Yohan Baiada, and sister shingle Hands Up on its first feature, “N.O.L.A. Circus,” a zany, English-language comedy set in Mississippi against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.
Five percent of the film’s revenues will go to charity foundations supported by One Million Dollar Film’s athletes.
“N.O.L.A. Circus,” which marks the feature debut of Luc Annest, will world premiere at the inaugural edition of Kulture Cinema, a festival created by Wild Bunch’s co-founder Vincent Maraval.
Hands Up has been tapped to market and create a visual identity for “N.O.L.A. Circus” and future projects. Les Enfants Terrible, Dahan and Baiada’s second banner, will exec produce the film as well as secure festival exposure, distribution, international sales rights for One Million Dollar Films.
Set in the 1960’s, “N.O.L.A. Circus” follows the lives of black neighbors living in a Mississippi town overtaken by the Ku Klux Klan.
A driving force behind the venture and a self-proclaimed cinephile, Diaw said the idea was to explore new grounds beyond sports and possibly direct and star in future projects. Diaw also pointed out that the role of players isn’t limited to financing the movies. “We were involved every step of the way, including in the casting and script,” explained Diaw.
One Million Dollar Film players will also be actively involved in promoting their movies and company brand. For “N.O.L.A. Circus,” each player toplined in a short feature to introduce the initiative.
Here is the short starring Boris Diaw:
Although One Million Dollar Film doesn’t have a strict editorial mandate and is open to every genre, Diaw told Variety that the company will strive to make features boosting civic values.
French producer Arnaud Bettan is overseeing the venture, which has offices in Paris, Hong Kong and Louisiana.
One Million Dollar Film, conceived as a multi-sports initiative open to worldwide players, currently comprises 12 athletes, including five NBA players — Diaw, Nicolas Batum ( Portland), Ronny Turiaf (Minnesota), Ian Mahimmi (Indiana), Alexis Ajinca (New Orleans) — as well as European basketball player Nando de Colo (CSKA Moscow); soccer players Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Louis Saha (former Manchester United player), Michael Ciani (Lazio de Rome), rugby player Maxime Mermoz (AC Toulon) and handball player Luc Abalo (PSG).
Now in post, the Guy Ritchie-styled film stars Martin Bradford, Kamille McCuin, Jessica Morali, Vas Blackwood, Regina Varice and Ricky Wayne.
Up next, One Million Dollar Films is developing a comedy with an Italian twist and a biopic of Angela Davis, among other projects.