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Source: (c) Christophe Brachet

Athena Collective

Eight independent female-led production companies have come together in France to launch Athena, a collective designed to foster parity in the country’s film and audiovisual industries.

The initiative, fuelled by an investment of EUR6.3m from French insurance companies MAIF and Areas Assurances, aims to help the producers take on more large-scale projects and expand their companies.

The investment, which is repayable, will be divided among the companies based on their individual business plans and agreed upon with the investors.

The producers are: Didar Domehri of Maneki Stories, Carole Lambert of Windy Productions, Caroline Bonmarchand of Avenue B Productions, Albane de Jourdan of Super 8 Films, Aurelie Trouve-Rouviere of La Filmerie, Christine Rouxel of Eliph Productions, Liza Benguigui-Duquesne of Odysee Pictures and Laetita Galitzine and Lisa Leboff of Chapka Films and TV.

Between them, the group has film credits including Two Tickets to Greece (Avenue B), Godland (Maneki), Angel Face (Windy) and In A Better World (Chapka).

Galitzine told Screen the group was formed organically. The The idea is that more funding will allow us to have the means to launch stronger IPs, to recruit more people within our own companies, and to be more ambitious in the development of our projects.”

At a time of European consolidation, when many local companies are joining major groups like Mediawan, Banijay and Federation, the new structure is specifically designed to allow the companies to “remain independent, but stay competitive,” explains Galitzine.

Each company will continue to operate separately, but several co-production projects between them are in development and will be announced in the months ahead.

Both Maif and Areas Assurances have previously contributed to the film industry with aid during the pandemic and to absorb production costs for projects forced to stop shooting if there are accusations of violence or sexual assault on film sets.

Galitzine said Athena is “all about solidarity among women in the film and TV industry. We’re all in this together.”

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