Viviane Candas, French director, screenwriter and author, takes responsibility. This daughter of the anti-colonialist activist and lawyer of the FLN during the liberation war Yves Mathieu denounces the blockade of the filming in Algeria of “The Slave Who Became King”, for which she wrote the screenplay with Jean-Claude Carrière (died in 2021) .
It is about the “diversion” of the first tranche of financing for this film, granted by the FDATIC in 2018, by the producer of Djinn Production, Khalid Djilali.
In an interview with TSA, the screenwriter denounces the relentlessness to which she falls victim from this producer, whose name she is revealing for the first time in a medium and who, as she says, has “vanished into thin air” with the money used for it for the filming of the first part of the film, i.e. 17.4 million dinars (100,000 euros).
Viviane Candas denounces the embezzlement of Algerian funding for her film
The facts come from 2018, as the director reports. “In December 2018, the Ministry of Culture granted this project a grant of 60 million Algerian dinars, the equivalent of 410,000 euros. The scenario was adapted to this project, but many avatars postponed the start of filming (Hirak, Covid pandemic, etc.). In March 2019, Djinn Production, represented by Khalid Djilali, signed a majority share agreement with CADC (the Algerian Cinema Development Center). In June 2019, Djinn Production received the first tranche of 17.4 million dinars or 100,000 euros and disappeared into thin air.
The director says she was a victim of theft and embezzlement of her project. “The producer is in France. He is unreachable. The production company no longer has an official address. All letters sent by the bailiff by registered mail are returned to the sender. “Khalid Djilali is blocking the situation because he refuses to withdraw in favor of the new producer: Bachir Derrais,” continues Viviane Candas.
“This producer still owns the rights to my film, whose title (Zumurrud) and director he changed in 2021 in order to receive the second tranche of funding from FDATIC (National Fund for the Development of Industry Cinematographic),” throws the Screenwriter continues.
Viviane Candas calls for a solution to this situation. “I fought for four years to get filming on The Slave Who Became King started. Khalid Djilali vanished into thin air because he refused to return the money from the first tranche granted by the Ministry of Culture. A fraud that hinders the realization of this film project! “.
“The Slave Who Became King”: the synopsis
Women and children are sold into slavery in a public square. A little girl tries to escape and then slits her own throat, while a beautiful black slave, Zumurrud, pushes away rich customers to offer herself to a ruined poet, Ali.
He takes him to the house where his dying father had urged him not to trust anyone. But Ali loves Zumurrud and they live happily.
Until the day when the merchant Rashid kidnaps the young woman and takes her to his estate, where he locks her up with a pig. While Ali is unable to free his beloved despite the help of a neighbor, the thief Jawân carries her on his horse to the hiding place, which is guarded by his mother.
Zumurrud escapes through a trick and sinks into a cave in the mountain. She then finds herself in the Sahara, where she discovers signs of war and then sees a drone chasing her.
When she takes a rifle from a dead hunter, she takes the form of a man. She continues on her way to a palm grove, where she is greeted as the successor to the king who died without an heir, because according to a special custom, the first foreigner to come will take the throne.
Zumurrud is called to rule and makes just judgments to the people. His courtiers, including the chamberlain and the butler, value him.
Only the doctor suspects that it is a woman. Some time later, the drying up of the oasis well is attributed to the new king not visiting his harem frequently.
When Zumurrud is asked to choose a wife, he sees the beautiful Sharzâd come to his aid, who reveals to him that she is the heroine of one of his stories.
Zumurrud, offering a feast to his people, sees Jawân and then Rashîd arrive one after the other and pursue him. She tortures them spectacularly, her cruelty humiliating them.
In the evening she finds Ali, who has crossed seas and deserts to find her. A miracle then causes the water to flow from the well. Then Zumurrud announces to his courtiers that the price for this miracle is the sacrifice of his masculinity. Since she no longer wants to rule, she travels south with Ali.
Who is Viviane Candas?
Viviane Candas was born in Paris in 1954 and is the daughter of Yves Mathieu, FLN lawyer. She grew up in Algiers and completed her secondary education at the Lycée Descartes.
Vivianes Candas then studied fine arts in Aix en Provence before studying theater and cinema in Paris. In 2016 she released a documentary about her father “L’Algérie du possible” and in 2022 she signed a documentary called “MarseilleS”. The director has also published two novels.