Jean Brehat’s Tessalit Prods., the outfit behind Ziad Doueiri’s Oscar-nominated “The Insult,” is teaming with French journalist-turned-director Sylvain Estibal on his sophomore outing, “Le Pape.”
His feature debut, “When Pigs Have Wings” (pictured above), a Gaza-set satire about a penniless fisherman Jafaar (Sasson Gabbay), won best first film at France’s Cesar Awards in 2012 after playing at several festivals including at Tokyo, where it nabbed the Audience prize.
“Le Pape” revolves around the pope, who embarks on a trip to Ciudad Juarez, a town in Mexico that harbors the most powerful drug cartels in order to deliver a message of peace and solidarity to the victims of violence. But his visit turns into a hellish journey after he gets kidnapped by Lynda, the female ringleader of the most powerful drug trafficking gang who plotted the abduction to boost her profile and assert her power. Lynda develop an unexpected bond with the pope, until she realizes she abducted a doppleganger.
“Estibal is a talented investigative journalist who’s working for the AFP (Agence France Press) in Mexico so he’s completely plugged in to what’s happening there and is connected with sources within the government, etc.,” said Brehat. “All the knowledge he has collected during the last couple years in Mexico serves as a rich canvas for the story, which is very funny, because reality is often comedic, but also political as was ‘When Pigs Have Wings.'”
The movie is currently in development and will be shooting on location early next year.
Brehat is also currently developing Doueiri’s supernatural thriller “Ghost Element,” his follow-up to “The Insult.”