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Focus Features Africa First Alumni Dyana Gaye’s Feature Film Debut (“Des Etoiles” (“Stars”)) Gets Funding Boost

Focus Features Africa First Alumni Dyana Gaye's Feature Film Debut ("Des Etoiles" ("Stars")) Gets Funding Boost

Updae on a project I profiled in November…

French/Senegalese director Dyana Gaye, whose short film, the vibrant, unorthodox musical Saint Louis Blues, was one of 5 projects selected, financed and produced under the Focus Features Africa First program (she was part of the very first class, announced in 2008), will be making her feature film directorial debut with a project titled Des Etoiles (or, in English, Stars).

As noted in that first post 2 months ago, the project was one of 22 selected for the annual Co-production Village, which ran from December 11-13, 2011 at the 3rd Les Arcs European Film Festival.

In short, Dyana’s upcoming film (as well as the other 21 announced today) were presented in front of European partners with the intent to attract resources in key phases: financing, production, and distribution.

Today brings word that Dyana’s project was one of 5 debut feature film projects selected at the last 2011 session of the second advance on receipts committee of the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC).

In short, she gets money upfront to help finance the project in exchange for money that the completed film will (hopefully) make later.

Des Etoiles’ synopsis reads:

Sophie arrives in Italy where she is supposed to join her husband who she never ends up finding. Mame Amy, an American resident for 25 years, returns to Senegal to attend her husband’s funeral. [The film centers on] the crossed trajectories of two generations of Senegalese women who glow in spite of the obstacles they face in their lives as migrants.

A little about Dyana Gaye… she was born in Paris in 1975. She majored in Film Studies at Paris 8 – St Denis University in 1998. In 1999, she won the Louis Lumiere-Villa Medicis grant for her script A Woman For Souleymane which she directed the following year. She was a finalist for the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative in 2004; she directed a musical one shot sequence film, Remembering Paris, for the project Paris, La Metisse in 2005. In 2006, her short film Ousmane received numerous distinctions all over the world and was nominated at the Cesar 2008 (French Academy Awards) for Best Short Film.

Again, Des Etoiles will be her feature film debut, and it looks like Dyana is very well on her way to seeing it to fruition, given the international awareness there is for it, and the fact that it’s been selected by at least 2 different institutions for financing/production/distribution backing.

I’ll be looking for it sometime in 2012/2013.

In the meantime, be sure to check out her Focus Features Africa First short film Saint Louis Blues, which is now available on DVD (the compilation disk of all 5 shorts from the first class), or digital download via iTunes.

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