EXCLUSIVE: Following festival favourite and Oscar shortlisted drama Night Of The Kings, Ivory Coast director Philippe Lacôte is developing his new feature film 7 Gold Thieves (Les 7 Voleurs D’Or) with his producing and co-writing partner Delphine Jacquet and Memento’s relaunched Paradise City banner.
The story is based on a real belief. In West Africa and in the imagination of the Malinké, gold has an ambivalent social function, conferring prestige and honor. However, whomever steals gold places a curse on his family line for seven generations. The project follows a man’s quest to break his family free from this ancient curse. Weaving together the stories of his forbearers over centuries, the film will crisscross between Western Africa and the U.S.
Anticipating a 2024 shoot, the film is currently in development and is being introduced to potential partners in Cannes.
Banshee Films and Wassakara Productions are producing, in association with Paris-based Paradise City, which is headed Emilie Georges and Naima Abed. The expectation is that Memento will sell the project though it isn’t a sales focus at this market.
Lacôte explained: “The film will follow Alboury, a young Sufi with a bewitching voice, in a seek to free himself from the curse of the gold thieves… His quest will take him from New York to West Africa, to the Kingdom of the Monkey Queen, where the curse was uttered. This epic story will cross several eras, in particular that of the beginnings of Islam in black Africa.”
Jacquet added: “After Night Of The Kings, this new multi-layered story embraces topics such as the African diaspora and an immersion in a Sufi community in Harlem. Our goal is to explore very local and specific imaginaries, and give them a universal dimension.”
Georges commented: “Ever since our successful collaboration on Night Of The Kings, we’ve been impressed by the amazing creative duo that Delphine Jaquet and Phillipe Lacôte have created. They’re truly masters in the art of storytelling, with a wonderfully generous and unique sensibility. We’re thrilled at the perspective of diving with them in the rich tapestry of Africa’s tales and History and of bringing this unique story to international audiences.”
Lacôte’s previous two films have launched at Cannes and Venice, respectively. Night Of The Kings, executive-produced by David Oyelowo, was released in the U.S. by Neon. It followed a young man sent to a prison ruled by its prisoners.
Paradise City, based in London and Paris, is a production and management division within Memento.
Philippe Lacôte is represented by CAA.
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