Amazon Prime Video Teams With Gaumont on First French Theatrical Movie, a Mother-Son Film Directed by ‘Starbuck’ Helmer Ken Scott


Prime Video and Gaumont (“Intouchables”) are teaming up on an uplifting mother-son drama tackling disability, directed by Ken Scott (“Starbuck”), and starring French actors Leïla Bekhti (“All Your Faces”) and Jonathan Cohen (“Sentinelle”). Scott penned and will be directing the film which is titled “Ma mère, Dieu et Sylvie Vartan” and is based on Roland Perez’s novel by the same name.

The project is the first theatrical film that Amazon Prime Video is co-financing as part of the French decree that kicked off in July 2021 and stems from the implementation of the European Commission’s legislation called Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). As such, Gaumont will release the film theatrically in France and holds all distribution rights in France and internationally (outside of Canada). “Ma mère, Dieu et Sylvie Vartan” will roll out on Prime Video 17 months after its theatrical release under France’s windowing rules.

The poignant movie tells the true story of Roland, who was born with a disability and was able to fulfill his dreams with the unwavering support of his cherished Jewish mother, Esther, a fierce woman who had a soft spot for iconic French singer Sylvie Vartan.

The cast is completed by Naïm Naji, Milo Machado Graner (“Anatomy of a Fall”), Lionel Dray, Joséphine Japy, Jeanne Balibar and Anne Le Ny. Vartan will also have a cameo role in the film.

Producers are Sidonie Dumas at Gaumont and Sophie Tepper at Egerie Productions) with Prime Video and Canada’s Christal Films Productions Inc on board as co-producers.

“Working with Ken Scott on this adaptation of Roland Perez’s poignant novel is a unique opportunity. His talent for telling funny and moving stories is undeniable,” said Sidonie Dumas, managing director of Gaumont, who described the film as a “touching story about family and difference.”

Sophie Tepper, producer at Egerie Productions, said the company “fell under the spell of the true story of Roland Perez and his extraordinary mother Esther.” She said Gaumont has been “invaluable allies” in forging this partnership with Prime Video.

Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, director of Prime Video in France, said the streamer “will continue experimenting and innovating to benefit our French theatrical production and distribution partners.”

Thomas Dubois, head of originals for Amazon Studios and Prime Video in France, said Gaumont was “a key partner” for the streamer and looked forward to collaborating “on a film whose strength and importance of storytelling instantly seduced us and pushed us to think outside the box.”

Dubois also pointed out that it made sense for Prime Video to embark on its first theatrical movie “under the watchful eye of Ken Scott bringing together Leila Bekhti and Jonathan Cohen. Both Bekhti and Cohen have been working with Prime Video in France on a regular basis. They notably appeared on the third season of “LOL: Qui rit, qui sort” and Cohen stars in the cop comedy “Sentinelle” that recently launched on Prime Video.


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