Planning to launch sales on the film at the upcoming Cannes Film Market in May, Entertainment One subsidiary Seville International has acquired international rights to the United Nations-backed climate change and music documentary, which will be titled The Great Green Wall and is currently in production.
Executive produced by City of God filmmaker Fernando Meirelles and Malian singer and model Inna Modja (pictured below) who will also lead the film, the film will chronicle the ongoing initiative to grow an 8,000 km wall of trees and plants across the width of the African continent. The story will unfold through the eyes of Modja – who will also produce the film’s soundtrack along with several international musicians – as she assembles leading musicians and singers to record an album that captures the spirit of the Wall, which, once completed, will be the largest living structure on earth, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Green Wall of trees will run through 11 African countries along the southern frontier of the Sahara Desert. Led by the African Union, the key purpose of the wall is to combat the effects of climate change, provide a mighty barrier against the advance of the Sahara and to reverse the desertification that’s spreading drought, famine and poverty through the Sahel region (from west to east, including parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, Niger, the extreme south of Algeria, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and extreme north of Ethiopia). The Initiative has 21 African countries participating, over $4 billion of pledged funding and heavyweight partners from the World Bank to the French government. The project is expected to restore 50 million hectares of land, provide food security for 20 million people, create 350,000 jobs and sequester 250 million tons of carbon. Work is already well underway.
British-Nigerian filmmaker Joseph Adesunloye was previously set to direct the filmed documentation of this ambitious effort and has been replaced by Jared P. Scott with filming taking place in multiple countries including Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
Produced by U.K. outfit Make Productions and backed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the $750K film is executive produced by Sarah MacDonald and Sian Kevil.
As for why “City of God” director Fernando Meirelles is involved in the making of the project, the filmmaker said: “I plant around 13-15,000 trees each year. I have my own nursery. It is an important moment in history to plant trees and plants, something which is as an easy and cheap solution to help combat climate change… I first came to hear about the Great Green Wall when directing the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, which had a segment about forests. I was amazed by the scale of the project. The Great Green Wall is an environmental and social project: support for it is very important. This is a hopeful documentary about a positive initiative.”
The pre-Cannes acquisition of the film was negotiated by Anick Poirier for Seville International with producer Nick North from Make Entertainment. Poirier will launch sales on the film next month at the Cannes Film Market.