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Former Canal Plus Exec Joins Echo Studio, Launches Politically-Engaged Projects

Echo Studio, the production company that launched at Cannes and has first-look deals with Walt Disney France and sales outfit Charades, is developing several topical film and documentary projects, including Gregoire Gosset’s “America’s Last Guests” (working title) and Rodd Rathjen’s Australian drama “Buoyancy.”

Produced by Madness Films, “America’s Last Guests” follows the journey of African refugees — a family and a single man — who travel from Uganda to the United States as part of a United Nation program. The documentary, now in production, chronicles the lives of these refugees as they settle in and a year later.

“America’s Last Guests” illustrates Echo Studio’s mandate to develop and produce timely fiction and non-fiction films and series that carry political, social and environmental themes and are meant to have a global appeal, in a similar vein as Participant Media, explained Philippe de Bourbon, the former commissioning editor of documentaries at Canal Plus. He just joined the outfit as managing director and partner, along with Yves Darondeau and Emmanuel Priou from Paris-based Bonne Pioche (“March of the Penguins”) and French media businessman Serge Hayat.

De Bourbon said Echo Studio will aim at promoting social change and progressive values not only through movies but also partnerships with institutes and non-governmental organizations.

Echo Studio is also teaming up with Sydney-based company Causeway Films to co-produce Rathjen’s’s drama “Buoyancy,” which is set against the backdrop of Thailand’s fishing industry and tells the tale of a young slave. Charades has international sales rights to “Buoyancy.”

De Bourbon, who is in charge of acquisitions and production at Echo Studio, previously worked on several politically-minded documentaries at Canal Plus, notably “Exode” and “Terror Studios.”

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