Orange Studio Ramps Up Africa Efforts

Film and TV Arm of French Telco Looks to Boost Production, Exhibition

Orange Studio is ramping up its efforts to boost production and exhibition across Africa, where the film and TV arm of France’s leading telco operator, Orange, has a growing footprint.

“It’s important for Orange to show … that our company is not just invested in doing business, but also wants to be a part of cultural life in Africa,” said CEO David Kessler.

Since launching last year, the company has invested in a slate of initiatives aimed at growing Africa’s production sector and improving access to theaters.

Last month it announced a deal with CanalOlympia, the Vivendi-owned cinema chain that operates eight cinemas across central and west Africa, to offer its popular Cinedays program, which offers two-for-one tickets. As part of the initiative, Orange is also integrating the use of its mobile-money service, Orange Money.

Friday in Cannes, the company signed a deal with the Institut Francais, which has a network of 50 digital screens across the continent, to release four films from African female directors later this year.

The slate includes Un Certain Regard selection “Rafiki,” by Kenya’s Wanuri Kahiu; 2018 Berlin selections “Apatrides,” by Morocco’s Nerjiss Najar, and “Maki’la,” by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Macherie Ekwa; and “Frontieres,” by Burkina Faso’s Apolline Traoré.

Praising the four helmers, Kessler said they reflect “a new generation of young African filmmakers … who really want to speak about Africa today.”

Orange Studio has a number of African film projects in different stages of development, according to Kessler, with an aim toward supporting six to 10 projects per year across the continent.

He also announced that Orange Studio is moving into TV production in Africa, boarding its first series in Burkina Faso, and partnering with Orange Senegal to develop series in the West African nation.

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