At the request of broadcaster France 3, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has found financial partners in Europe and coordinated all pre-sales worldwide for Bitter Tropics. This is the first TV fiction mini-series about slavery in the French West Indies in the late 18th Century.
Shooting on the prestigious mini-series (6 x 52-minutes) has just been completed in Martinique. Bitter Tropics is produced by Elizabeth Arnac of Lizland Films (France) with the support of France 3 and the region of Martinique. It describes the life and relations between white masters and black slaves in the French West Indies on the eve of the French revolution, as France prepares to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
Out of a total production budget of EUR 9m, almost EUR 1m was spent on the sets alone, together with some EUR 320,000 on costumes.
Major resources were deployed to reproduce the life of the period in the rich sugar plantations, not only in Martinique but also in Cuba. Some 100 days of preparations and 150 people were involved in recreating the streets of Saint-Pierre de la Martinique in the present-day city of Trinidad de Cuba.
“We are very pleased to have been involved, by our support for Bitter Tropics, in this necessary research into slavery,” stated Philippe Jacot, the head of the EBU Coproduction Unit.
Broadcast rights for Bitter Tropics have already been acquired by TSR (Switzerland), Duna TV (Hungary), YLE (Finland), TVP (Poland), RTL-TVI (Belgium), RUV (Iceland), Eurochannel (Latin America, USA & Canada), CYBC (Cyprus), PBS BIH (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and ALRTV (Albania).
Exploitation rights for the rest of the world have been acquired by a major German distribution company, introduced to Lizland Films by the EBU.
The series will be ready for delivery to the pre-purchasers in early 2007.
This colourful fiction production is directed by Jean-Claude Flamand Barny (Neg Maron, 2005), with a script by Virginie Brac and the historian Myriam Cottias, an expert on the French West Indies.
Jean-Claude Adelin, Lea Bosco, Fatou N’Diaye, Delphine Rich, Jean-Michel Martial and Jacky Ido are in the leading roles.