Echo Studio, the Paris-based company behind Rodd Rathjen’s Panorama drama “Buoyancy,” is set to produce “Walking on Water,” the feature debut of Dakar-born French actress Aissa Maiga, Sabrina Van Tassel’s “A Death Foretold” and “Food” (working title), a culinary documentary from famed French chef Jean Imbert.
Echo Studio, which launched at Cannes last year with first-look deals with Walt Disney France and the sales outfit Charades, was created to develop and produce 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.
Currently in development, “Walking on Water” will follow Maiga for over a year in a Nigerian village that has suffered water shortage and shed light on the transformation of the village with the arrival of clean water.
” ‘Walking on Water’ will be a poetic and cinematic African fable exploring the lives of young woman in the village who often had to make sacrifices with regards to their education because of this water shortage,” explained Philippe de Bourbon, a former Canal Plus executive who is managing and partner of Echo Studio.
Other Echo partners are Yves Darondeau, Emmanuel Priou from Paris-based Bonne Pioche (“March of the Penguins”) and French media businessman Serge Hayat.
“A Death Foretold,” directed by the French-American documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist Van Tassel, is a character study of a woman who has been sentenced to death for killing her 2-year-old daughter. Isaac Sharry from Vito Films is producing “A Death Foretold.”
“Food,” which is being developed by Imbert, “will take audiences around the world to find unique products in an attempt to discover innovative ways to cuisine,” said de Bourbon. Bruno Levy at Paris-based Move Movie is producing the film. Pharrell Williams is co-producing and will score the documentary feature which Disney will release in France.
Echo Studio is also producing Gilles de Maistre’s “Demain est à nous,” a documentary feature about children around the world who are advocating for social justice causes.
The kids became activists because they have either experienced first-hand or witnessed tragic injustices or violence, explained de Bourbon.
Disney will release “Demain est à nous” in September and Charades is handling international sales. Echo Studio will be teaming up with NGOs and the French national school system to give the documentary a wider reach in schools and abroad.
This edition of the Berlinale marks the first festival outing of Echo Studio with “Buoyancy,” which is set against the backdrop of Thailand’s fishing industry and tells the tale of a young slave. The film was produced by Sydney-based company Causeway Films. Echo Studio and Charades are co-representing international rights to “Buoyancy.”