PARIS, May 29th, 2017
Mayane Films (Jeremy Sahel, Georges Benayoun) and Federation Entertainment (Pascal Breton) are coproducing AIDS, an international coproduction about the emergence of the disease and the race to find its cause
Developed by Georges Benayoun (“Mina Tannenbaum”, “Wild Reeds”, “The Apartment”, and TV series “Tous les Garçons et les Filles”) and Franck Nouchi, a doctor and journalist for major French newspaper Le Monde, this ambitious medical thriller will be set in the 1980s when the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic first hit.
Federation Entertainment is handling international sales for the series, for which financing is being finalized with a major US Partner.
At the start of the 1980s, when AIDS was beginning to claim its first victims, parallel teams of French and American researchers were engaged in a race against time to discover the agent responsible for the disease in the hope of saving as many lives as possible. To begin with, the two institutions involved – the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland – were eager to collaborate. But things very soon turned sour. A smoldering conflict between the two teams’ respective leaders, the charismatic Robert Gallo and the reserved Luc Montagnier, spilled over into the public domain. The scientific squabble became an affair of state.
Against this backdrop of back-stabbing, spoliation, lies, and betrayal, but also creativity, determination, and resilience, AIDS dramatizes the scientific and human adventure behind one of the most important medical breakthroughs in the last century, a thriller involving sex, money, morals, and survival, always overshadowed by the specter of death.
AIDS will also document the major changes the advent of the disease brought to society. Almost four decades have gone by since the first case was identified. Some 40 million people worldwide have died of AIDS-related illnesses; 35 million are currently infected by HIV, the retrovirus responsible for the disease. This epidemic led to a genuine revolution in behavior; everything changed. Patients and their loved ones realized they could form significant pressure groups; the pharmaceutical industry understood that the opacity in the way it worked was no longer acceptable; politicians realized that an acute public health problem could threaten the very apparatus of state. The big international institutions had to adapt their operating methods to the reality of a virus which spread beyond borders. But perhaps the most significant revolution was in the area of sexual relationships, which would never be the same again.
Without equivalent in the history of science and medicine, this conflictual episode between France and the United States was resolved thanks to America’s system of checks and balances. The truth finally emerged thanks to the joint action of an American journalist and an eminent member of Congress. At the same time, with the development of tri-therapies, pharmaceutical research made a considerable breakthrough.
AIDS is based on real events, featuring leading figures from the medical and scientific world who played a decisive role in identifying the virus, developing screening tests, and pharmaceutical research. It also portrays the activists and patients whose courage and tenacity played a key role in this story.
HIV/AIDS has left its mark on the history of humanity. There was before; we are all living in the after…
AIDS, a series created by Georges Benayoun and Franck Nouchi.
A Mayane Films and Federation Entertainment coproduction.
Mayane Films is a French production company headed by Jeremy Sahel. Georges Benayoun is head of development and creation.
Georges Benayoun has produced more than 40 films and many successful TV series.
His productions have won numerous awards (César, Bafta, Golden Leopard, Silver Bear, Fipa, etc.). After several years writing and directing documentaries (“L’Assassinat d’Ilan Halimi”, “Profs en Territoires Perdus de la République”, “A Qui Profite?”), Georges Benayoun is now dedicated to the development of mainstream projects for Mayane.
Jeremy Sahel is an young producer and former documentary-maker. His credits to date cover documentary, short films and programs, along with webseries and virtual reality (the short format work “Jetlag” in 2015). Having worked with Georges Benayoun on “L’Assassinat d’Ilan Halimi”, he wanted to work with him further on the production of dramas and documentaries.
Mayane Films is developing mainly with his partner NEXUS (Brussels) an extensive line-up of TV series and feature films with international ambitions.
Federation Entertainment, launched by President and Founder Pascal Breton in 2013, has quickly established itself as top indie European studio and production company. Previous President of Marathon Group, Pascal Breton partnered with key international players, Lionel Uzan (Managing Director), Stephane Sperry (Producer), David Michel (Managing Director, Kids and Family), and Serge Hayat, while Ashley Stern heads the US operations. With offices in Paris and Los Angeles, the company focuses on the creation, production, financing and distribution of high quality original productions for the global marketplace.
Federation Entertainment currently has 12 series in production including the second season of Netflix France’s first original series “Marseille,” starring Gerard Depardieu with acclaimed writer Dan Franck and director Florent Emilio Siri; the award-winning original series in production on a third season, “Le Bureau des Légendes/The Bureau.” , a CANAL+ Creation Originale series created by Éric Rochant and produced by Alex Berger and Éric Rochant for TOP-The Oligarchs Productions, in association with Federation Entertainment; Oliver Goldstick’s “The Collection,” a co-production with Lookout Point for BBC Worldwide and Amazon’s first UK original drama; the award winning Israeli thriller, “Hostages” for Channel 10 & Canal +; Hit Belgian drama, “The Break”; and breakout Finnish series for YLE, “Bordertown.” Additionally, Federation has a number of high profile series in development for both U.S. and international audiences.
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