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Côte d’Ivoire: Isabelle Boni – Claverie, a film director committed to more inclusive series and documentaries

Isabelle Boni-Claverie is well-known for her work on popular series for French television, such as « Seconde Chance » which was selected for the Grammy Awards… In 2021, the Ivoirian writer, film Director and scriptwriter founded « Izzy B Productions », a production company dedicated to developing more inclusive series and documentaries.

Writing and cinema have accompanied Isabelle Boni-Claverie since her childhood. As a child, she was already a movie-lover. With her mother, a journalist, she entered film editing rooms very early on, playing with film reels, watched films at home… Passionate about art and literature, she published her first novel “La Grande dévoreuse” at the age of 17 and won the 2nd place of the Young French-language Writer Prize. At the age of 22, she directed the cinema pages of the contemporary art magazine, “Revue Noire” and wrote for the press, notably « Planète Jeunes » and Afrique Magazine, until 2000.

Towards the end of the 1990s, she met the film director Claire Denis who convinced her to go into cinema. Already a graduate in modern literature from the Sorbonne and in art history from the Ecole du Louvre, she joined the National School of Image and Sound Professions (FEMIS) from which she graduated in 2000. She was immediately successful.  Her first short film produced in 1998, “Le Génie d’Abou”, was selected for the Créteil International Women’s Film Festival. The 10-minute short film was also awarded a special mention by the jury at the International Short Film Festival in Abidjan in côte d’Ivoire.

Her next two films, “La coiffeuse de la rue Pétion” (1999) and “Gary Cooper, image and meaning ” (2000) also conquered hearts. Her film “Pour la Nuit” produced in 2004 was selected for about thirty film festivals around the world. As a screenwriter, the Ivorian also collaborated on the production of the documentary “Si Gueriki, la reine-mère” (Si Gueriki, the Queen Mother), followed by “Arlit, deuxième Paris” (2005), a multi-award-winning documentary. She also worked on the writing of television series such as “Seconde chance” on TF1 in 2008, “Plus belle que la vie” in 2007.

Highlighting underrepresented people in the media

Granddaughter of a mixed couple (French grandmother and Ivorian grandfather who became a magistrate of the French Republic), she suffered racism and rejection in French society, despite her origins. In 2015, she produced an autobiographical documentary “Too black to be French” and published a novel of the same title in 2017.

In 2021, she founded “Izzy B. Productions”, her production company specializing in the development of more inclusive series and documentaries and aimed at highlighting underrepresented people on screens.

She also worked in the USA for the producer Dany Glover for whom she ensured the movie adaptation of Valérie Tong Cuong’s novel “Where I am ” which became ” Heart of Blackness”.