Filmmaker Ina Sotirova being filmed on a smartphone
Cannes film name in lights
Putting up the billboard at the Cannes film festival 75th anniversary event

Mango Magic in Cannes

7 September 2022
ITC News

Jamaican director Ina Sotirova travelled to the film festival to drum up support for her movie, as part of UKTP support for creatives in the Caribbean

From the creativity and vibrancy of the Jamaican film industry, comes an inspiring story of a young boy named Jazz who must uncover the secrets of nature to save his family. With the guidance of a Rasta mystic, his guitar and magic mangoes, the pre-production movie Mango Magic is a transformative journey into nature and spirituality.

But to get the movie made, writer and director Ina Sotirova needs global contacts. To make that happen, the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships Programme (UKTP) sent her to this year’s Cannes Film Festival. That forms part of the programme’s support for creative industries in the Caribbean, through the International Trade Centre.

Filmmaker Ina Sotirova on the beach at Cannes
Ina Sotirova

At the festival, she met industry professionals to discuss financing, co-production, and distribution for Magic Mango. Sotirova said she made some 100 contacts and held over a dozen meetings with potential partners. She attended talks and panel discussions on everything from co-production case studies to women in film, the metaverse and industry trends.

The UKTP’s individual counselling before Cannes was "crucial and invaluable" in the project's development and in preparing her for the film market, Sotirova said. The market is one of the world's largest and can easily be an overwhelming experience.
The programme also opened the door to innovative strategies for financing Mango Magic. With another participant, Nanook Enterprises, the team has been looking at the possible development of a non-fungible token (NFT) campaign.

The Cannes experience also confirmed the financial and creative case for shooting the film’s magic scenes in a virtual production studio. This opens an opportunity to film a significant portion of the project in the territory of its potential partners, thus increasing the viability of Sotirova’s international co-production strategy.

She is also set to produce a short film as a tool for financing and building her team’s international credibility. The short as will also help build her audience and community as part of Mango Magic’s long-term marketing and distribution strategy. Attending Cannes led the company to accelerate the launch of the Mango Magic website. And they’re building a targeted contact list to keeping up with the most interested business partners.

Attending Cannes “was beneficial on many levels, particularly in significantly growing, widening and strengthening our professional network,” she said. “But also in ways we did not expect, the creative and strategic developments of the project this experience has catalyzed and the free publicity bonus.”

At the festival, she was interviewed for a social media spotlight on women in Cannes and invited to be featured on a podcast for black youth.

We can’t wait to see Jazz and his Magic Mangoes in cinemas around the world soon. 

About the programme

The UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) programme works with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to increase exports from SME suppliers to the United Kingdom and the European Union. The UKTP programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre.