6:00 PM, July 17, 2022
In recent months, his images have been everywhere, in all forms used today: platform, traditional television, cinema or online media. New schoolthe Netflix rap TV show whose season 2 is already in preparation for 2023; Stadiumthe beautiful black-and-white film behind the scenes of the rugby players at the Toulouse stadium; Helloformer singer Diam’s unpublished confession to Brut, which also drew 90,000 spectators during his two days of theater exploitation; to replacethe TF1 soap with JoeyStarr as an atypical teacher; Champion(s)the France.tv series about young Insep athletes dreaming of Paris 2024; The Pogmentary, the Amazon Prime documentary miniseries about football player Paul Pogba. All these original programs were produced by Black Dynamite, Éric Hannezo’s company.
” I’m lucky “, he smiles in his office, on the fifth floor of the Mediawan building in Paris. Since 2020, the audiovisual group of Pierre-Antoine Capton has been the majority shareholder of “Black D”, as we say internally. “We have total editorial and artistic freedom”, Hannezo specifies, at the head of a structure of about fifteen permanent. He created Black Dynamite (direct reference to a film of the same name pastiche of the blaxploitation of American cinema of the 70s) in 2010 with “[s]you friends” Vincent Labrune (current president of the Professional Football League), whom he started with in the sports division of France 2 in the early 1990s, and Guillaume Lacroix, whom he later met at TF1 (and today director of Brut).
Immersion, its trademark
On the walls, posters tell about twelve years of different creations, with a strong tropism for sports stars: Karim Benzema, Teddy Riner, Nicolas Anelka, Tony Parker, etc. And the desire to “Telling stories that are extraordinary, long and with a cinematic twist”. For the Pogba series, five episodes in the footsteps (and in the home) of the world champion in Manchester, the main innovation is the use of manga-style cartoons; it is the work of ON Entertainment, an animation studio also owned by Mediawan. “Sport remains a huge playground and experiment. We will always do it”says Éric Hannezo, an athletics enthusiast who stood out twenty years ago with his exclusive reports on sprinters Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon.
This success also shows that French rap is very powerful
More than ever, compelling documentaries are the trademark of Black Dynamite. “We realize it’s a genre that appeals to young people because it’s closest to social networks where personalities express themselves, without a filter. » These productions embedded in intimacy are sometimes criticized for lacking a contradictory perspective. “I assume I, Hannezo answers. We are not intended to be editors. We just tell what is happening before our eyes…”
in a different genre, New schooladaptation of the American Rythm + Flow with a jury consisting of rappers Shay, Niska and SCH, would become the most watched French series on Netflix, in the waters of she-wolf even indicates the platform. “We worked hand-in-hand with Netflix to not over-format or script things, and to maintain the judge’s freedom of tone. This success also shows that French rap is very powerful »says this hip-hop fan, who watches the program with his two grown children, 23 and 17. He casually confides that he dreams of producing a rap and football game show, “the two universes that attract the most today”.
Éric Hannezo says he wants to continue “think of formats” and to develop her “own projects instead of responding to tenders”. “We will continue to do things with famous people, because Diam’s and Benzema, like Omar Sy and Emmanuel Macron, which we also did [en coproduction avec Troisième Œil], they are markers of French society. But I am also proud that we have been nominated for the Césars for the documentary Cyrille, farmer, 30 years, 20 cows, milk, butter, debts (2020), directed by Rodolphe Marconi. I would also like us to do more subjects at the Capa, such as a year in high school. »
With the producer Michel Feller (Mon Voisin Productions, especially the origin of the series) Ten percent), he also created a new label: Black Wizard, still within Mediawan. Several series projects are underway: about a prosecutor with superpowers (co-produced with Hubert Besson), about adventurous teenagers at Stand by Me and about expert investigators in air disasters. Black Wizard will also produce the snowmenthe next film from Audrey Estrougo, the filmmaker of Supremes (2021), dedicated to NTM.
Making a movie, it was an obsession for kids
Stadium, which Éric Hannezo himself co-directed, will be available as a documentary series, in color and closer to the players than the feature film. He is also in talks with a broadcaster to launch JoeyStarr’s Large Cutlery, a five-episode road trip with the rapper-actor to discover the cuisine of France and those who make it.
At the age of 50, a more intimate project also inspires him: to go all the way back furious (2015), the dark thriller he directed, with Virginie Ledoyen and Lambert Wilson in the cast. A failure in theaters (48,500 admissions). He points to the Korean movie poster in his office. “Making a movie was an obsession for childrenhe confides. I’m glad I did it, but I’m not happy with the result. It took me over a year to digest, I was so embarrassed… In the end it was a blessing in disguise and a real trigger. I said to myself, “Try to be a good producer instead!” »