Press 22 MAR 2013

Nabil Ben Yadir to wrap a French super production

Following his 2009 surprise box office hit Les Barons (170.000 attendants) Belgian filmmaker Nabil Ben Yadir started shooting of the ambitious French production La Marche, featuring Jamel Debbouze, Olivier Gourmet, Lubna Azabal and Hafsia Herzi.

The script, which he co-wrote with Nadia Lakhdar and Ahmed Ahmidi, is inspired by the events during the legendary “Marche des Beurs” (march of second generation North African citizens) that swept through France from Marseille to Paris in December 1983 to demand equality and to protest against discrimination and the racism of a French society marked by xenophobe violence and repressive police action.
 
It all began with youngsters of Lyon’s Minguette quarter who got fed up spending their lives hanging around the street and being treated as second-class citizens. With Minguette’s parish priest Christophe Dubois’ support, they came across the idea for a huge non-violent march on Paris. Almost entirely neglected by press and media some thirty marchers took off in Marseille for a march across France, to talk to people who had never left their families. Upon their arrival in Paris, they were over 100,000. The festive march sealed the emergence of the “génération Black Blanc Beur”.
 
Thirty years later, it is the young Belgian filmmaker who with Les Barons became the pride of the Brussels Moroccan community, who will make this film with the empathy and generosity for which he is known.
 
« I knew right away what I attracted me in this project,” Nabil Ben Yadir explains. “A rise in revolt against a system by people who do not take the hard line but reach out instead, even if their stomachs have been nourished with anxiety and anger. It will be a highly accessible uplifting film, even if a scream for justice lies at its origin. »
 
For this ‘equal rights road movie’ a 10.7 million Euro budget was raised in a co-production between French Chi-Fou-Mi (Hugo Selignac), France 3 and Europa Corp, and Belgian Entre Chien et Loup (Diana Elbaum), in co-production with Belgacom TV and with the support of the Walloon-Brussels Federation’s Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel. The film is due for theatrical release on December 3, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the “Marche des Beurs”.
 
In 2014 Nabil Ben Yadir will start production of his third feature-length film Annapurna, a political crime thriller in which Flemish actor Jan Decleir will incarnate an unscrupulous cop who joins an extremist political party to pursue his battle against crime and injustice. This will be an Entre Chien et Loup majority Belgian co-production, with the support of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel.