Gaumont has locked major territory deals on “Father & Soldier,” Mathieu Vadepied’s WWI action-drama about headlined by “Lupin” star Omar Sy. The movie world premiered on opening night of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.
“Father & Soldier” has sold to Latin America (Sofa Digitale), Germany and Austria (Weltkino), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Spain (A Contracorriente), Italy (Minerva), Benelux (Athena), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo), Former Yugoslavia (Cinemania Group), Indonesia (Falcon) and French-speaking Africa (Pathe BC Africa).
Exploring Africa’s forgotten war heroes, the film opens during the First World War, in 1917, in the French colony of Senegal. Sy stars as Bakary, a father who enlists in the army to stick by Thierno, his 17-year-old son, who was recruited against his will. Together, father and son must fight the First World War in the trenches in France. Thierno is ready to sacrifice his life to fight for France, a country he knows little about. His father, meanwhile, sets off to protect him at all costs.
Vadepied made his directorial debut with “Learn by Heart,” which world premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week. Vadepied also worked as the artistic director and cinematographer on “Untouchable,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s 2010 comedy smash hit which marked Sy’s acting breakthrough and earned him a Cesar nod.
“Father & Soldier” is produced by Bruno Nahon’s Unité (“A Good Doctor”) and Sy’s production vehicle Korokoro. Gaumont, which produced “Lupin” and Sy’s biggest movies including “Untouchable” and “Samba,” is also a co-producer of “Father & Soldier.”
Speaking of this film, Sy said it came together at a time in his life where he felt an “urge to connect the cultures and histories of two countries which saw me grow up — as a producer, alongside Unité, and as an actor — in order to pay tribute to these deserving men.”
Vadepied co-wrote the film with Olivier Demangel, whose credits include Mati Diop’s Cannes prize-winning “Atlantics.” Vadepied also directed several episodes of “En Therapie,” Nakache and Toledano’s hit French series adapted from the Israeli show “Betipul.”
Associate producers are Maryvonne Le Meur and Caroline Nataf. The film’s co-producers are Sy Possible Africa, Milles Soleil, Gaumont, France 3 Cinéma, Canal Plus et Ciné Plus.