Amazon Prime Video France has unveiled a slate of originals, including Cedric Klapisch’s “Greek Salad” — a series sequel to the “L’Auberge Espanole” trilogy — Melanie Laurent’s “Le Bal des Folles,” as well as live sports such as the tennis tournament Roland Garros, and adaptations of popular unscripted formats such as “LOL” and “Celebrity Hunted.” All titles will roll out on the streaming service later this year.
The programs were presented during a virtual press conference on Monday hosted by Georgia Brown, director of European Originals; Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios; Thomas Dubois, head of French Amazon Originals at Amazon Studios, Isabelle Bertrand, head of content for Amazon Prime Video France; and Alex Green, managing director of sport at Amazon Prime Video.
“Greek Salad” will be set in Athens, Greece, and follow the children of Xavier and Wendy, who were played by Romain Duris and Kelly Reilly, respectively, in “L’Auberge Espanole,” “Russian Dolls” and “Chinese Puzzle.”
The series will follow the journey of two protagonists who are 19 and 25, roughly the same age as Xavier, Duris’ character in the trilogy, as they deal with everyday life, the financial crisis, sexual identity issues, as well as the situation facing migrants in Greece.
“‘Greek Salad’ will deliver a young person’s perspective on Europe today and examine what it’s like to live together in this world,” said Klapisch, who previously directed the series “Call My Agent!,” during the presentation. Lola Doillon and Antoine Garceau in charge of spearheading the writers’ room for “Greek Salad.”
Other series in the pipeline include “Miskina,” created by Melha Bedia, a popular French actor and comedian who previously headlined the Amazon Original movie “Forte.” Produced by Quad (“The Intouchables”), “Miskina” will revolve around a 30-year-old French Muslim woman who is single, in love with her best friend, and living with her grand-mother. The show is being written by Bedia, Melha Bedia, Xavier Lacaille (“Validé”), and Yoann Gromb (“Vingt-cinq”).
Amazon Prime Video has also order “Totems,” a historical spy series set during the 1965’s during the Cold War era, with a cast including Niels Schneider, Lambert Wilson, Jose Garcia and Ana Girardot. The show, produced by Gaumont, follows a French scientist who works for the French Secret Services and the CIA who falls in love with a pianist who becomes a KGB agent.
Amazon Prime Video also have a couple movies on its 2021 roster, notably the previously-announced “Le Bal des folles,” directed by Melanie Laurent. The period mystery thriller, Amazon’s first Original movie in France, takes place at the end of the 19th century in Paris, at a time when women deemed too rebellious or difficult were frequently labeled as insane and institutionalized. It stars Laurent, Lou de Laâge (“The Innocents”), Emmanuelle Bercot (“Mon roi”) and Benjamin Voisin (“Summer 85”). Alain Goldman’s Legende Films is producing.
Amazon Prime Video France is also collaborating with Legende Films on “Flashback,” a time-traveling, female-driven comedy directed by Caroline Vigneaux. The Amazon Original film will follow a cynical female lawyer who is forced to travel in time and meet powerful women who had a historical impact. The cast is completed by Sophia Aram, Suzanne Clément, Lison Daniel, Issa Doumbia, Gad Elmaleh, Lannick Gautry, Emy Ltr, Florent Peyre and Sylvie Testud.
“We’re always interested in original content which have a depth, a social or political dimension, whether it’s ‘Le Bal des Folles,’ ‘Flashback,’ Greek Salad,’ ‘Totems’ and ‘Miskina,'” said Dubois.
“Because we’re a streaming service we’re catering to a wide-ranging audience and the idea is to have Originals that can strike a chord within different demographics, but also have some shows like ‘Totems’ which will work with a large audience,” explained Dubois.
The executive added that the service was also committed to showcasing the diversity of French talents from different backgrounds in front and behind the camera. Along with emerging talents such as Melha Bedia, who will make her directorial debut with “Miskina,” Amazon Prime is working with well-established filmmakers such as Laurent and Klapisch.
Amazon Prime Video France has also acquired rights to Roland Garros, the French open, for several years. One of France’s most popular sports event, Roland Garros will kick off on May 17. It will be Amazon Prime Video’s first rights acquisition for a live sports event in France.
“Young people today watch sports in a different way than they used to so we’re happy to partner up with Amazon and help us attract new audiences,” said Guy Forget, the boss of Roland Garros.
Amazon Prime also announced three local adaptations of popular unscripted formats, such as “LOL,” hosted by Philippe Lacheau (“Babysitting”), “Celebrity Hunted” with stars such as Frank Gastambide and Ramzy Bedia, and “True story,” with high-profile actors such as Isabelle Adjani, Pierre Niney and Adele Earchopoulos.
During the presentation, the service also shared a clip of its Amazon Original documentary about Orelsan, the French musician, produced by Nolita TV and Troisième Œil Productions, a Mediawan company.