Amazon Prime in France has unveiled its upcoming slate of director-driven Originals, including ‘Hawa,’ a new movie by “Cuties” director Maimouna Doucouré, Nicolas Bedos’ TV debut “Alphonse” and Franck Gastambide’s “”Medellín.”
“Hawa” follows the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who lives with her grandmother and worries she will be removed by social services. She sets off to get adopted by someone she admires more than anything, one of the most powerful woman in the world. “Hawa” is produced by Bien ou Bien Productions.
The movie is currently in post-production and is expected to launch globally on the streamer later this year. As with “Cuties,” Doucouré’s feature debut which won the director prize at Sundance and was acquired by Netflix, “Hawa” will be headlined by first-time actors, including Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Oumou Sangaré, as well as the popular singer Yseult and Sania Halifa.
Doucouré discussed “Hawa” along with Prime Video’s head of Originals Thomas Dubois on stage during Amazon Prime’s press conference in Paris on Tuesday. She said the movie is about a young woman who aspires to transcend her social class and break free. “In ‘Cuties’ and in my short film ‘Maman,’ I always talk about topics that resonate within me and my life experience,” said Doucouré, adding that she feels that she “was always driven to fulfil her dreams and was able to break through a glass ceiling,” as well as “taught (herself) how to become a filmmaker.”
“Medellín” is an ambitious action-packed crime comedy which will soon start shooting on location in Colombia. The movie is being produced by Mandarin Cinema which produced Gastambide’s hit comedy movies “Porn in the Hood,” “Pattaya” and the top-rated Canal Plus show “All The Way Up” which was acquired by HBO Max.
“Medellín” follows Pablito, a young YouTuber fascinated by Pablo Escobar, who makes his dream come true by flying to Medellín to walk in the notorious drug lord’s footsteps. A few days later, a video is posted on social media, showing that Pablito has been kidnapped by a group of dangerous Narcos.
Gastambide said working with Amazon Prime is allowing him to work with a significantly large budget and create an authentic action comedy. “This film will combine my experience with action movies, such as ‘Taxi 5’ and ‘All The Way Up,’ as well as comedies such as ‘Porn in the Hood,’ “Pattaya,'” said Gastambide during the presser.
Amazon Prime’s new slate of projects by high profile talents such as Maimouna Doucouré, Nicolas Bedos and Franck Gastambide underscores the streamer’s drive to ramp up its game in France, as well as invest more on movies, on top of series. These filmmakers are not working directly with Amazon Prime — they are instead working alongside their regular producers.
Dubois said the service currently had 15 series in development, including “Alphonse,” a ‘romanesque’ comedy series created by “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin and Nicolas Bedos; and “Killer Coaster,” a French slasher comedy created and written by Nikola Lange (“Derby Girl”) and Thomas Mansuy (“Scènes de Ménages”)). The series tells the story of Sandrine, a sloppy cop who decides to take on an undercover job at a fair. The French banner Vacarme is producing the show and will launch on Prime Video worldwide in 2023.
Set to start shooting in June, “Alphonse” will star Dujardin as a chameleon-like man whose main mission is to please women and satisfy all their wishes. He will star alongside Pierre Arditi (“La Belle Epoque”), Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Antichrist,” “Samba”) and Nicole Garcia (“Lupin”).
Amazon Prime also teased upcoming series such as “Miskina” with Melha Bedia (“Forte”), produced by Quad “Intouchables”); “Overdose” by Olivier Marchal and “Greek Salad” by Cédric Klapisch.