NEON is excited to announce it has acquired US rights to Philippe Lacôte’s sophomore feature, Night of the Kings. The film premiered on September 7th in the Horizons sidebar of the Venice Film Festival and is set to play at both the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival later this month. His debut feature Run, with Abdoul Karim Konaté and Isaach De Bankole, premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2014. Night of the Kings, which has been chosen as the Ivory Coast submission for this year’s Academy Awards, marks Lacôte’s second collaboration with Konaté and stars newcomer Koné Bakary.
Night of the Kings follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, both prison and national politics threaten to boil over.
Lacôte wrote and directed the film which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. It’s produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria, and Yennenga Productions.
Night of the Kings marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast. The first was Black and White in Color in 1976, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The other film was Run, the debut feature by Philippe Lacôte.
Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for NEON with Emilie Georges and Mathieu Delaunay of Memento Films International on behalf of the filmmakers. Memento Films International is handling international sales.
Philippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a movie theater – the «Magic». His work as a director has taken on several forms, before focusing in 2002 on the recent history of his country with Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, a film on the edge between a documentary and a diary. It is followed by the feature film Run, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Cannes Un Certain Regard 2014. This selection confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and revealed a new voice from the African continent. Night of the Kings (original title “La Nuit Des Rois”), his second feature, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa, during a night of red moon.
Night of the Kings has been selected by Ivory Coast to represent at the 2021 Academy Awards as their International Feature Film submission and will be released by NEON, with plans to be announced at a later date.