Orange Studio, Orange Group subsidiary
In 2007, Orange created Orange Studio: its subsidiary dedicated to cinematic co-production. Interview with David Kessler, Orange Content Director and CEO of Orange Studio.
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 recognised 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, Orange Content Director and 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 since it was created in 2007?
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, audiences only go to the movie theatre to see action films. 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 César awards, and was nominated for an Oscar. A few years earlier, The Artist surprised us by winning 5 Oscars and 6 César awards.
Since the beginning of 2018, Orange Studio has also invested in co-producing series alongside OCS. In March, OCS distributed the mini-series “The Name of the Rose”, its first series under the OCS Originals label. Subscribers will also be able to watch “Devils” from the beginning of 2020. Finally, four new OCS Originals series, three French and one English-language, have been announced:
- Cheyenne & Lola, a social western
- The Opera, a dance-filled workplace drama set within the Palais Garnier
- Sentinels, a series about the French army
- Unpunished, an English-language cyber-thriller
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 the Orange Studio Distribution label, 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.