Burkinabe filmmaker Cédric Ido's superhero-inspired short film Twaaga (in English, Invincible), made via the now-defunct Focus Features' Africa First program, was featured on this blog a few years ago, as well as the short film he made before that, the award-winning samurai-influenced Hasaki Ya Suda (a short that helped get him into the 2011 Berlinale Talent Campus, as well as a slot among the fourth class of Focus Features' Africa First filmmaker program). Hasaki was a strong favorite of many of you who read Shadow & Act when we shared it a good 5 years ago.
In my past conversations with Cédric, he talked about being influenced by samurai movies of yesteryear, especially those from the master himself, Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood and Yohimbo). Cédric is also a superhero fanboy, and has said that he plans to make films about black people that incorporate unlikely/unexpected elements, and that are within genres that historically and still currently ignore the contributions of people of African descent. His Focus Features Africa First project Twaaga as well as Hasaki Ya Suda, certainly fit the bill.
Monsieur Ido, who's also an actor, is making his feature film directorial debut with an upcoming dramedy titled La Vie de Château, for which he's teamed up with fellow French writer/director/producer Modi Barry, to helm.
Filmed in Paris' Chateau d’Eau locale - a neighborhood where many Africans live - the film follows the trials and tribulations of a group of hair salon hustlers whose fast talk and tall tales see them accidentally entwined in the district’s best kept sentimental secret. Written by Ido, Barry and Joseph Denize, the story centers on Charles, described as the smoothest of all the hustlers. His job: to fill the district’s numerous hair salons with customers. But when the competition gets tough, dirty tricks to gain any kind of edge are employed.
The film stars the filmmaker's older brother, Jacky Ido (most recently seen in a recurring role in Shondaland's sophomore ABC series The Catch, as well as in Nefertite Nguvu's feature debut In The Morning which is currently in release), Tatiana Rojo, Jean-Baptiste Anoumon, Giles Cohen, and Raghunath Manet.
France's MK2 Films is repping the filml Happiness Distribution owns France rights; but no English-language territory pick up at this time, although I'd expect Stateside film festivals with interest in World Cinema will be interested in it, given Ido's pedigree.
“MK2 is thrilled to be on board such an original project set in a community of Paris so rarely brought to the screen and, even more rarely, in such a touching and humanizing way and by filmmakers who know the real heart of their subject,” said MK2 Films’s head of sales and acquisition Juliette Schrameck, in a previous statement.
Produced by One World Films and SRAB, a first trailer for La Vie de Château has been released, although it's for the film's France premiere (which is today, August 9), so it's not subtitled in English. But while we wait for an international trailer for English-speaking audiences, this one will suffice as it gives us a glimpse at what the film looks and feels like. Underneath the trailer you'll find a poster.