Lagardere’s New Imagissime Banner Develops Internationally Driven Documentaries

CANNES, France – Lagardere’s Imagissime Label bowed with a bang in March, delivering Niels Tavernier’s “Elles ont toutes une histoire,” a documentary series about the condition of women across the globe which brought together some of the world’s most powerful foundations, from Kering to Chanel and Sisley.

Commissioned by French pubcaster channel France 5 and TV5 Monde, the 10-episode series was shot in 10 countries and dealt with hot-button issues such as abortion, violence against women, right to education and forced marriage.

The creator of the company, Elodie Polo Ackermann (pictured above), is a well-rounded producer who previously worked at Doc en Stock and Film en Stock, the outfit behind Olivier Assayas’s “Carlos.” She’s now looking to broaden the scope of Imagissime and deal with a variety of topics, including history, science, discovery, culture and society.

“We’re aiming to produce premium documentaries with high production values and topics that have an international appeal for primetime slots,” said Ackermann, who envisions producing half of her projects with foreign partners.

Among the ambitious documentary series on Imagissime’s slate are Barbara Necek and Florian Dedio’s “Tank Story,” a four-part series co-produced by France’s Looks Film, Planète and Germany’s ZDF, and “The secret Odyssey of Species,” which is based on an original idea by Lydia Tassier. Imagissime is also developing a high-profile documentary on Auguste Escoffier, the famous French chef, with Arte and a Canadian broadcaster. Set for 2017 shoot, the doc will mix archive, animation and live action.

Imagissime is also producing Virginie Linhart’s “21, rue de la Boétie,” a one-off based on Anne Sinclair’s book. The doc, commissioned by France 5 and Belgium’s RTBF, explores the world of art gallerists from the pre-WWII era to today. It will again mix archive, live action and animation.

Ackermann said they was no better time to get into documentary-making, as premium outlets such as Netflix and HBO have ramped up the genre, encouraging filmmakers and producers to apply the production values of TV drama to documentaries.

“Thanks to Netflix, HBO and other cable, streaming services, we’re seeing more and more upscale documentaries that have a big scope, are compelling and even [have] glamour,” Ackermann said.

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