45: Tropiques Amers: FRENCH TV TACKLES SLAVERY
CALL FOR ENTRIES...You still have time to send in your entries to the Wisconsin Film Festival (http://www.wifilmfest.org/). The deadline is December 29; and they are seeking narrative, documentary, experimental, multimedia, and animated film or video submissions of any length. The fest itself will happen April 12 to 15, 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin. For film guidelines, hit http://www.wifilmfest.org
TABOO ON YOUTUBE...We told you last week about the trailer for RuPaul's new flick, Starrbooty: Reloaded. Well we're back now to tell you that the footage is now reportedly it was too hot for YouTube. The over-hyped site snatched the clip off just after we posted last week. But don't fret, RuCo Inc. send us a link to a G-rated version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phi-5F6wXsY. But they also tell us there will be a Starrbooty website coming soon with the uncut clip. Proving that you can't keep a good man, uh woman, uh man....ah, you know...down!
CLEAR CHANNEL TO BE ACQUIRED
The nation's biggest radio station owner, Clear Channel Communications Inc., has announced that it will be acquired for about $18.7 billion by an investment group, making it one of the biggest deals in which a company has been taken private. A group led by the investment firms Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital Partners LLC will pay $37.60 in cash for each share of Clear Channel common stock. They will also assume about $8 billion in debt. Currently, Clear Channel owns or operates 1,150 radio stations nationwide and is also a majority owner of Clear Channel Outdoor, which sells billboard and bus-stop ads. Besides the acquisition, Clear Channel will sell 448 of stations and its 42-station television group.
ROOTS A L'ORANGE: FRENCH TV TACKLES SLAVERY
An A-List Exclusive
French television will never be the same after May 2007. France, for that matter. If an upcoming TV series called Tropiques Amers (Bitter Tropics) has the same impact on the country and media as 'Roots" did in the United States, then then all eyes will be on this country after this historic breakthrough. Currently in post production Tropiques Amers (www.patrickglaize.com/tropiquesamers) will contain six roller coaster ride episodes consisting of 52 minutes each. Tackling a subject that is most often unspoken of, the series takes the viewer on a gut-wrenching portrayal of French colonial escapades in the Caribbean. Slated to air on France 3 and a variety of European channels, Tropiques Amers is definitely not for the tender-hearted. Thiam Aissatou, considered one of France's key rising actresses, stars. Guadeloupe born-filmmaker Jean Claude Flamand Barny (left) directs. Bavaria International will distribute.
In an exclusive interview, The A-List caught up with the mastermind behind the groundbreaking series, a female producing powerhouse by the name of Elizabeth Arnac (right), founder of Lizland Films.
The A-List: What led you to want to do this story about slavery in France?
Elizabeth Arnac: "I lived in the United States at the time of the broadcasting of 'Roots' and it was then I realized how far behind France was (and still is) in its historical and political consciousness relating to slavery in its colonies. Afterwards, I travelled to Martinique and was shocked by the French ignorance of its history, its foundation on slavery, and its present social structure (still owned by white land owners, the békés)."
Q: When did you start formulating the story you wanted to tell?
A: "From the '90s when I returned to France for working in television production. I tried to find a way to tell the story of slavery in the French Caribbean. I started my own company in 2003 and felt then that I was ready to pitch and carry the project without having to compromise with the truth and depth of the subject matter. I hired a very good screenplay writer which collaborated with an historian who specialized in the history of slavery during the 17th and 18th centuries. I wanted to [relay] the relations between masters and slaves on a sugar plantation from 1780 to 1810 (before, throughout the French Revolution). The point was to show how the Declaration of Human Rights was never applied to the slaves of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Slavery was theoretically abolished in 1794 (never applied) and reestablished by Napoleon in 1802."
Q: Why did you select Thiam Aissatou to star?
A: "The pre-selection before auditions was based on her looks/her part is that of the Master’s favorite who is to be replaced by a younger one Adele, the leading role. Therefore, Rosalie (Thiam) was to be a gorgeous, self-conscious woman. Her essays for the audition were breathtaking. There was no doubt for the director and me that she was Rosalie. It tells the story of masters and slaves living on sugar plantation over 20 years. There are many important characters both white and black, but the true leading heroes are black.
"We have a great script,
which is without compromise on
the reality of slavery."
Q: Was it difficult to get this project made?
A: "The broadcaster gave me a lot of editorial freedom throughout the writing process. Therefore, we have a great script which is without compromise on the reality of slavery. We managed to develop characters who are complex. But it was very difficult to produce and is still very difficult to finish. I am still looking for finances...I couldn’t find co-producers neither in France nor in Europe."
Q: Why do you think it's taken so long for this subject to broached by TV?
A: "France has a HUGE PROBLEM with dealing with shameful aspect of its history and has a HUGE problem with its ex-colonies and its black population."
Q: Do you see this as opening the door to future tough issues to be tackled on French TV?
A: "I sure hope it will be successful and open the door to all the stories that are still to be told about the present and the past of the Black French community."
Q: Will it air in the States?
A: "American broadcasters are known for not been interested in programs dubbed or subtitled. We will still try to get American distribution...but our hopes are scarce."
The A-List hopes that Tropiques Amers will not only open up the minds of those who dismiss the effects of slavery, worldwide, but also opens French television up to covering more issues that concern its citizens of color.
Powerhouses and Panels At The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference
We came, we saw, we pondered during The Hollywood Reporter (yeah, it's okay to mention our kinda competition) Billboard Film & TV Music Conference held earlier this week at Golden Globes staple, The Beverly Hilton. Complete with the requisite hype (as well as substance), the two-day event kicked off with stellar names in attendance such as Oliver Stone all in praise of the tune and how it affects the image. As the E! Entertainment News van pulled up outside, you could tell there was a bit of electricity in the air but it was also quite apparent that the attendees came to do business as much as listen to the titans! In fact, we heard that attendance was even up this year with the executive level being even more present.
Panels included a variety of topics from Women in Music to The Anatomy of Film, which gave powerful insight to the music inner-workings behind the much-anticipated Dreamgirls (which by the way, we must comment on what all this craziness is about Beyonce possibly nominated for Best Actress. That's our girl, but c'mon now. Mirren or Benning, she ain't but anyway...) A nice Q&A with Terence Blanchard also stood out among other panels.
We have to note though, the "look-but-don't-touch" quality of some of these panels, would get on our nerves if we actually had to pay for admittance. People like Stewart Copeland are whisked away with all the security of a former president and for what? Is it about really sharing and meeting these fools or just the privilege of paying to hear other people muse about how successful they are and their challenges and triumphs. Consistently, people keep asking from the audience how to break in and are told from the Zeus-like cloud of the dais to send in demos only to hear later on that even they have to fight to get their friend's music noticed over the editor pushing their friend. Leaving us to wonder, how soon can we look forward to a panel on "tips for how to make better friends in your industry so that you social experience and yearly income can rise." That is, after all a lot of what this is about, no? It reminds me of school and how they tell you to study quite hard and to create a specific resume only to shockingly find out later that the world is basically only about relationships and somehow you missed that 101 course on how to get only cool, connected, mainstream, powerful, wealthy connects...particularly if you are of color.
At any rate, of interesting note as well was the panel on music for commercials. Funny enough, while we may rule the Billboard chart and a lot of the music referred to within the commercial spots shown were either inspired by Black music or featured Black music, nary a dude or woman of color seems to run these all-important music (jingles, prooduction) houses with which the advertising agencies seem so reliant upon for assistance. (And this should not be surprising given all the hoopla about the advertising agency witch hunt most recently joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, so you know it's on).
While Atlantic Records Chairman has stated that Black music is the world's music, somehow the management and business of it seems to fall into another realm. By the way, if anyone out there knows of any Black-owned companies that actually represent or are composers/sound engineers, we'd love to know about them because right now it's like Loch Ness Monster sightings.
So that was that. One has to admit, this event came off without a hitch though. Kudos to the VNU for another seamless event.
Well, always food for thought from The A-List and a real overview from our perspective.
C'mon. Where else you gonna get that? Holla back at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shout out to PR diva Lila Gerson of the Rosen Group for hooking us up at the last minute.
SHOUT OUT TO OUR MAIN MAN GIL ROBERTSON.