Melita Toscan de Blantyre, the driving force behind the Marrakech Film Festival, is developing Fanny Ardant’s next directorial debut with Martin Scorsese attached as executive producer.
The movie stars Gerard Depardieu and is about an impossible relationship between siblings. Toscan du Plantier, who splits her time between producing and organizing the Marrakech Film Festival, is producing the film with Julien Madon whose union owns the Cheyenne Productions banner.
Ardant penned the untitled project in collaboration with Jacques Fieschi, screenwriter of “Lost Illusions” and “Mal de Pierres”. Toscan du Plantier said Scorsese will be creatively involved in the production, from the script — for which it was translated — to the editing.
The project is being developed by Toscan du Blantyre and bannerman Julien Madon with whom Toscan du Blantyre has a first look deal. The duo is already working with Scorsese on “Funny Birds,” the comedy-drama by Marco La Vella and Hannah Ladole starring Catherine Deneuve and Andrea Riseborough.
“Martin Scorsese is a dear friend, and we’ve partnered to work on films from new filmmaking talent, new voices,” said Toscan Du Plantier, dressed in an emerald silk shirt and beige suit. He knows that France enjoys a unique position in the world of independent cinema thanks to its many international co-production treaties and diverse sources of public subsidies, from CNC [National Film Board] For TV channels such as Canal + and Arte.
“He just celebrated his 80th birthday, but he still has the soul of a kid with such a passion for cinema. He may be resting on his laurels, but instead he wants to He participates in smaller films from promising new directors.”
Toscan du Plantier helped launch the festival in 2001 with her late husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a highly respected and glamorous French producer. After his death, it took over the festival and turned it into one of the most prestigious and best festivals in the Arab world, attracting strong talents and filmmakers such as Scorsese, who attended the festival seven times, as well as Francis Ford Coppola. and Robert De Niro and Guillermo del Toro.
While most festivals struggle to attract stars or, in some cases, have to pay big sums to get them, Toscan du Plantiere has managed to bring together a strong jury headed by Paolo Sorrentino, with Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Raheem, Nadine Labaki and Leila Marrakchi, among others. It’s quite an extraordinary feast given the timing – the middle of awards season – and the fact that Marrakech has only a small part of the Red Sea Festival’s budget – most of which comes from private sponsors – and doesn’t pay guests to attend.
“It took months and months to put together the jury and bring all these directors and actors together — it’s like a puzzle,” said Toscan du Plantiere. “We take into account the number of men and women as well as the nationalities represented and so we have to convince them to dedicate 10 days out of their busy lives to watching three movies a day – it’s a huge commitment,” she added.
Getting the festival back after two years of cancellation due to the pandemic has been daunting, but Toscan du Blantyre said the key is to get Moroccans excited. She and Remy Bonhomme toured film schools and universities for weeks before the festival began teasing films from the selection. The festival has also launched online credits. In general, this 19th edition of Marrakech received a record number of guests.
It’s also the first edition of Remi Bonhomme, who previously worked closely with Charles Tesson at Critics’ Week in Cannes and led Atlas Workshops, the industry sidebar that runs alongside the Marrakech Film Festival.
“Under Bonhomme’s leadership, the festival continues its mission to highlight emerging talent from everywhere and we are proud to carry on in this tradition,” said Toscan du Plantier, noting that Alexandre Payne and Alicia Vikander’s “Sideways” (for “Hotell”) won awards in Marrakech ahead of Winning Oscars.