The Key Digital Players in the Growing Media Hub of Marseille

France's Mediterranean port city is developing a modern technical infrasturcture

Marseille Develops Digital Talent
Courtesy of Mathieu Rozières/Lionel Payet/Mathieu Morfin

The growth of Marseille as a digital media hub will have a major impact not just on the French economy but also on the enire European audiovisual sector. Executives and organizations looking to do business in the city — and in the surrounding region — need to know the players who are driving the growth and making the decisions. Here are some of these individuals.

Jean-Laurent Csinidis
Films de Force Majeure
Winner of France Television’s Emerging Producer Award 2015-16, producer-distributor Films de Force Majeure, founded in 2010, focuses on auteur-driven animation shorts and documentaries, such as L.A. skid row docu “Game Girls” and Paul Wenninger’s World War I animation short “Uncanny Valley.” The company’s slate includes Wenninger’s web series “Swamp,” which uses stop-motion animation to blend marionettes with human bodies, based on the idea that everyone is connected, but feels alone. “Everyone is trying new things out,” says FFM manager Csinidis. “For web series, the crazier we are the more support we get.”

Mathieu Rozières
Black Euphoria
Founded in 2014, Black Euphoria produces innovative digital content for brands, and sister company Dark Euphoria develops television projects and web series. CEO Rozières is keen on investing 25% of the two companies’ turnover in new projects. He is currently prepping two ambitious TV shows to be shot in Studio Post & Prod’s new visual effects studio — a scientific discovery program, “Experimentboy,” that Rozières compares to Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters,” and “Faces B,” starring humorist Marc Antoine Le Bret — a hybrid live-action/vfx show that is expected to bow sometime in early 2017.

Mathieu Morfin
Gobi Studio
Founded in 2013, Gobi Studio has four projects in the pipeline, including the $280,000 short “Upside Down,” a pilot for a live action/animation TV series “Les brefs gastronomiques,” on the preparation of famous French dishes, and an animated comedy series, “Les bidules.” Gobi is also working on the concepts for two animated feature films and has provided effects for special editions of Newen’s soap “Plus Belle la Vie” and animation services to Luc Besson’s Europa TV on “Arthur and the Invisibles.”

Lionel Payet
La Planete Rouge
Founded in 2008 as a post-production and effects shop, La Planete Rouge began producing music videos in 2014, starting with “Unconditional Rebel,” which used ultra-slow motion camera and pre-visualisation technology to shoot a three-minute video in a five-second take. Recent productions include horror webseries “Fever SE” for telephone company Wiko. Payet believes that working with brands offers new creative opportunities. “If you like the horror genre, like me, it’s almost impossible to get funding from traditional sources such as CNC. Digital opens up a new world.”

Sabrina Roubache
Gurkin Invest Film
Line producer on Netflix’s “Marseille,” Roubache founded Gurkin Film in 2014, with offices in Marseille and Buenos Aires. She launched Gurkin Invest this year at Cannes, raising private funding via the French tax relief scheme TEPA-PME to invest in scripts and provide gap financing. Roubache is prepping a project with writer Dan Franck about American journalist Varian Fry, who led a rescue network in Vichy France during the Nazi era, and a crime-themed documentary project, produced by Ed Burns (“The Wire”) set in the port cities of Marseille, Sicily’s Palermo, and Baltimore, where “The Wire” was set.

Thomas Ordonneau
Prolific producer-distributor Shellac, run by Thomas Ordonneau, has become a major producer of directorial debuts and auteur and art films, including Paul Vecchiali’s “The Cancer,” Salome Lamas’ Berlin-player “Eldorado XXI,” and Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights.” Shellac is currently prepping Gomes’ next feature, “Sertao,” and two additional feature films with local directors — Anne Alix’s “Il se passe quelque chose” (“Something Is Happening”) and Emilie Aussel’s “Mourir jeune” (“To Die Young”).