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Taskovski Films is making moves ahead of the Cannes Film Festival next week.
The sales and production outfit has acquired “Aya,” the debut feature from Belgium-based director Simon Coulibaly Gillard, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Aya,” a co-production between Belgium’s Michigan Films and France’s Kidam, is set to bow in the ACID section of Cannes on July 10, with four subsequent screenings spread across the next few days.
The film centers around Aya, a young woman growing up with her mother on the island of Lahou. Joyful and carefree, Aya enjoys picking coconuts and sleeping on the sand. However, her paradise is doomed to disappear under the water. As the waves threaten her house, Aya makes a decision: the sea-level may rise, she won’t leave her island.
“We were immediately taken by the power of the image and tenderness of the extraordinary lead character on this mystical journey from climate change to coming of age,” said Taskovski Films CEO Irena Taskovski. “‘Aya’ is a wild experience between fiction and documentary made by director and cinematographer of successful mid-length ‘Boli Bana.’ It is always exciting to collaborate with such inventive productions like Michigan Films and Kidam with whom we share the passion for pushing the boundaries of cinematic experience.”
Sprinkled liberally with documentary style, “Aya” deals with the very real threat of climate change on the local Ivory Coast community and stars local non-professional actor Marie-Josée Degny Kokora as the titular character. Gillard says he discovered Marie-Josée while scouting her village for his film.
“‘Aya’ was a production bet we made with the director Simon Coulibaly Gillard, from a few words on a [piece of] paper and a fierce desire to picture new stories and new characters. Then came along our bold French co-producer François-Pierre Clavel, who shares our love for hybrid handcrafted films. We financed the film joining documentary and feature funds, in order to reach both theater and TV audiences. We’re glad to add the dynamic and sharp sales agent Taskovski Films to the team to bring this innovative film from ACID Cannes to a worldwide audience,” added Michigan Films producers Sébastien Andres and Alice Lemaire.