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Canal Plus Overseas Boards African Crime Drama ‘The Trade’

Restless Global and Ten10 Films have announced a development deal with broadcaster Canal Plus Overseas on “The Trade,” an ambitious crime drama based on the West African drug business.

The product of extensive on-the-ground research into the murky world of the international narcotics trade, the series is largely set in Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and France.

According to co-creators and showrunners Marie Lora-Mungai, of Restless Global, and Tendeka Matatu, of Ten10 Films, the agreement with Canal Plus Overseas marks a step toward realizing a pan-African prestige series that would be Africa’s answer to “The Wire.”

“Our ambition with ‘The Trade’ is to create a TV series set in Africa that can rival the best series in Europe or in the U.S., while bringing a world that has never been seen before on screen to global audiences,” said Lora-Mungai and Matatu.

Media veterans Matatu and Lora-Mungai, who also co-founded the Africa-focused talent agency Restless Talent Management, are banking on the roster of A-list African talent that they represent to elevate the level of content coming from the continent. They are currently developing a broad slate of TV and film projects.

The deal with Canal Plus Overseas showcases that company’s commitment to supporting and investing in ambitious African projects, while bolstering Restless Global’s and Ten10 Films’ plans to produce eye-catching content that appeals to international auds.

“As we expand in Sub-Saharan Africa, we look for high-end content from the continent,” says François Deplanck, senior VP, channels and content at Canal Plus Overseas. “ ‘The Trade’ is an ambitious project with great story lines, and we’re glad to be associated on it with Restless Global and Ten 10 Films.”

The first three scripts for “The Trade” are currently in development with Nigerian screenwriter Kemi Adesoye, whose TV credits include MTV’s “Shuga” and the pan-African hit series “Tinsel.”

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