Paris-based international sales and co-production company, Indie sales has come on board to represent Malian crime-drama, “Wùlu,” the feature directorial debut from Malian-French filmmaker, Daouda Coulibaly.

The words “Malian crime-drama” aren’t exactly words you hear/read together often, so I’m certainly intrigued.

Produced by Eric Névé at Paris-based production shingle La Chauve-Souris, and pitched as a “Malian Scarface,” the synopsis for “Wulu” reads like this: BAMAKO, MALI, 2007 – Ladji, a 20 year old man, works hard as a prantiké (bus driver) to get his older sister, Aminata, out of prostitution. As he doesn’t get the promotion he was expecting, he decides to contact Driss, a drug dealer who owes him a favour. Assisted by his two mischievous friends Houphouet and Zol, Ladji carries kilos of cocaine from Conakry to Bamako. His rapid rise to the top of the drug trafficking underworld, gives him easy access to money, women and a life that he had never dreamt of. But the price to pay is high.

Daouda Coulibaly
Daouda Coulibaly

Filmed on location in Senegal and Mali under “very harsh conditions,” said Indie Sales, the film is set to make its premiere in France this year after the French international sales agent shopped it at the European Film Market earlier this year.

“Wùlu” stars Ibrahim Koma (“The Crocodile Of Botswanga,” “Asphalt Playground”) and singer-turned-actress Inna Modja.

“Daouda Coulibaly is one of today’s most talented Franco-Malian filmmakers and Ibrahim Koma a promising actor… The film takes us into a shady world of west African poverty and drug trafficking, and I am confident that the story of Ladji will manage to connect to the audience worldwide,” said Indie Sales’ prexy Nicolas Eschbach.

Director Coulibaly’s last film was a short titled “Tinye So” which was covered on this blog, as it was a 2011 Focus Features Africa First program selection – the now defunct initiative that earmarked funds exclusively for emerging African filmmakers, awarding 5 filmmakers annually $10,000 apiece to make their short films. “Tinye So” is online in its entirety, so I encourage you to watch it in full below for a sample of the filmmaker’s work.

“Wùlu,” which is co-financed by the European Commission, is set to premiere, likely somewhere on the international film festival circuit, sometime this year.

Watch a clip from the film below, and then watch the filmmaker’s award-winning short film, “Tinye So” after it: