Echo Studio, the Paris-based international production firm dedicated to creating content with social impact, has set three new projects that are aimed to inspire change and action. The company, chaired by former Disney France chief Jean-François Camilleri, will co-produce the next feature film from Pascal Plisson, Once Upon A Time In Africa, and Anissa Bonnefont’s documentary Une Vie Volée (A Stolen Life), as well as develop three-part miniseries #Ourgirls about the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria.
Founded by Yves Darondeau and Emmanuel Priou, Serge Hayat and Camilleri, Echo Studio looks to raise global awareness of the century’s major issues via impactful films, series, TV movies, documentaries and dramas. Its first feature, Demain Est A Nous, directed by Gilles de Maistre and produced by Mai Juin Productions, was released in France in September 2019. Camilleri joined as Chairman one year ago in a re-team with Darandeau and Priou with whom he previously worked on 2005 Oscar winner March Of The Penguins.
Once Upon A Time In Africa is based on a true story and follows John, a 12-year-old elephant poacher whose life takes a turn when he meets Mike Parker and his family. On their farm, John unexpectedly befriends an orphan baby elephant. Filming is planned for 2021 in Kenya and South Africa with a theatrical release eyed in 2022. Plisson previously directed César-winning documentary On The Way To School (Sur Les Chemins De L’Ecole).
Echo is also partnering with Federation Entertainment to co-produce Une Vie Volée for Canal+ Original Creation. The documentary is directed by Bonnefont whose Wonder Boy won a Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Feature – Special Jury Mention this year. It’s co-written by Edith Chapin and produced by Myriam Weil. Shooting began on June 20.
With Galaxie Africa, Echo is developing #Ourgirls, a three-part mini that revisits the 2014 kidnapping of a group of female students in Chibok, Nigeria. The terrorist act caused international outrage and made the hashtag #bringbackourgirls go viral. Some have since been released and others managed to escape, but many are still hostages. Through exclusive interviews of four of them, the series seeks to address the question of access to education, women’s rights and questions the impact of large-scale but often short-lived viral campaigns.
Camilleri says, “These three new impact productions allow us to explore extraordinary fates, through fiction or documentary, features or series, and address topics as diverse as preserving biodiversity, human rights or women’s education in Africa. By partnering with renowned producers and talents, we want these films to raise public awareness around the globe of these crucial issues.”