“Call Me By Your Name” producers Emilie Georges and Naima Abed are launching Paradise City, a London- and Paris-based film, TV drama and branded content production and management company. The banner’s slate includes projects by Edward Berger (“Deutschland 83”), Lili Horvát (“White God”), Anthony Chen (“Ilo Ilo”) and South African author Lauren Beukes (“Slipping”).
Georges is the founder and CEO of sales banner Memento Intl., which is at Cannes this year with Tarik Saleh’s competition film “Boy from Heaven,” Dominik Moll’s “La nuit du 12” in Cannes Premieres, Charlotte Le Bon’s “Falcon Lake” in Directors’ Fortnight and Kristoffer Borgli’s “Sick of Myself” in Un Certain Regard. Abed, who is based in the U.K., produced “Call Me By Your Name” with Georges under their other production banner La Cinefacture and has been building Paradise City’s roster for over a year. So far, the outfit has over 12 projects in development at different stages.
Berger is developing a project on the Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”), the rescue mission orchestrated by the British government during WWII to rescue over 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi-controlled territory during the nine months prior to the outbreak of war. The film will be told from the point of view of a young teenager, Oskar. Berger penned the script with Rebecca Lenkiewicz (“Ida”). The movie is co-produced by Berger, Jan Krüger of Port au Prince and Kate Solomon’s 55 Films. It will shoot in Dutch, German and English.
Paradise City also produced Horvát’s English-language debut “My Notes on Mars,” in co-production with Horvát’s and Dóra Csernátony’s Hungary-based Poste Restante.
The company is also shooting Chen’s English-language debut, “Drift,” in Greece. The film is based on Alexander Maksik’s acclaimed novel “A Marker to Measure Drift” and tells the story of a young Liberian refugee woman who fled her war-torn country to the island of Santorini.
Also on the Paradise City slate is “Slipping,” based on Beukes’ short story. The project is being developed with Rammy Park, Beukes and South African director Thati Pele, in co-production with Stephanie Wilcox and David Lancaster at Rumble Films.
Abed and Georges, who are both industry veterans with access to a wide talent pool and deep knowledge of the international market, said they wanted Paradise City to become a hotbed for talent and work with them to develop their films or series, as well as manage the careers of select filmmakers and work with them on branded content through their partnership with New York-based Epoch Films and talent manager Megan Campbell.
“As always, we’re looking to have a selective approach and the goal isn’t to represent a huge number of creators but to work with a mix of emerging talents and more established ones with some gender parity,” said Georges. Speaking of the company’s management arm, Georges said filmmakers needed guidance more than ever in today’s landscape, which is crowded with streaming services and has made dealmaking more complex.
“We want to protect talents’ artistic vision and help them develop ambitious films that are either in the English language or are shooting outside of their homelands,” said Abed, adding that it takes a long time for helmers to develop these kinds of projects. “Some directors can’t afford to spend four years to develop projects, so the idea is to give them the opportunity to work on high-profile branded content which can also allow them to network with other talents and crew members,” added Abed. She pointed out the company will also provide filmmakers with legal services. Paradise City’s full staff will be announced at a later stage.
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