Happy birthday Orange Studio: 10 years already!
Precisely 10 years ago, Orange founded Orange Studio: its subsidiary dedicated to cinematic production. David Kessler, CEO of Orange Studio, reviews these 10 years of dedicated service to movies.
What led Orange to become interested in the big screen?
Orange Studio was founded on the conviction that convergence is becoming a reality and that creating content will be a major challenge. The Group has thus positioned itself as a willing partner of traditional players such as content producers. While Orange no longer positions itself with a view to total convergence, this strategy has proven to be the right one: We have acquired true expertise, and have a catalogue of high quality films. Orange is recognized as a partner to French cinema.
What are Orange Studio’s activities?
We have two key missions. The first is to participate in the production of French films, from more specialized films that surprise, such as the documentary on the Paris Opera currently playing in cinemas, to the most popular comedies. The second is our commercial activity. In both France and abroad, we sell a catalogue of films that we have coproduced or acquired.
Cinema is above all a human adventure...David Kessler, CEO of Orange Studio
How does Orange Studio choose the films it coproduces?
It uses a number of criteria. The first and most important one is that we must fall in love with a project. After that, we look at the team, which includes the cast, the producer, and the director. We might give young talent a chance, or remain faithful to a director with whom we have already collaborated successfully. Obviously, we have to take the financial aspect into account and determine how much to invest based on the risk and potential of a given film. However, cinema is above all a human adventure.
How has Orange Studio evolved during these past ten years?
During these ten years, we have continuously adapted to public expectations, which are changing, unpredictable, and increasingly demanding. Today, given the competition of home cinema, spectators only go to the movie theatre to see action films such as Star Wars or the soon-to-be-released Valerian, or to see truly original films, including very demanding ones. The cinema remains popular in France, with an average of 200 million visits per year. The share held by French films remains high, but preferences are clearly become more pronounced.
Nevertheless, the public continues to provide big – and pleasant – surprises. For example, we participated in Timbuktu to save a project that was struggling to get financing. The film was then seen by 1 million people, was shown around the world, won 7 Césars, and was nominated for an Oscar. A few years earlier, The Artist surprised us by winning 5 Oscars and 6 Césars.
You will present a film at Cannes this year: can you tell us something about it?
It is a documentary by the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann regarding the napalm bombs that were rained down on North Korea 60 years ago. This film, which addresses a difficult topic, convinced us with its originality and its rareness: a number of its scenes were filmed in North Korea. OCS will also be present at Cannes with a number of films in the Official Selection and in the Parallel Sections.
What are Orange Studio’s next challenges?
We want to gain greater visibility with the general public. Thanks to a recent agreement with the theatre chain UGC, five of “our” films will be distributed under our brand, i.e. we will finally appear as a distributor.
Finally, we must continue to adapt to the changing world of cinema. An example: There has been controversy since two Netflix films have been selected for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The fact that films produced to be shown in cinemas are on equal footing with films produced to be shown on streaming platforms heralds a major change that will be resisted among the stakeholders in French cinema.
In this environment, Orange Studio continues to be a small, agile company capable of adapting. And, we have a great advantage: the unwavering support of the Group, which has always been committed to cinema.
10 years of Orange Studio:
- 130 films coproduced
- 3 prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, 5 Oscars, and 22 Césars
- 40 million spectators
- Our 3 biggest successes: The Artist, by Michel Hazanavicius; Timbuktu, by Abderrahmane Sissako; and The Little Prince, by Mark Osborne