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The Grocer's Son, the Mayor, the Village and the World

The Grocer's Son, the Mayor, the Village and the World

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Back in the 1970s, the southern French village of Lussas bet its economic future on documentary film—launching an annual festival that would become renowned. Now, the village is making an even bigger gamble, going all-in with the construction of a state-of-the-art post-production and training center, and the launch of Tënk, a new streaming service dedicated to independent auteur documentary.

After the jubilant launch of the Tënk website, the team celebrates. Then the realities of shaky financing, burnout, and the struggle to meet subscriber targets hit. Founder Jean-Marie Barbe works the phones, lobbies politicians, and implores more locals and film professionals to sign up—when he’d rather be discussing the relative merits of Scorsese’s documentaries. Meanwhile, town mayor Jean-Paul Roux must convince residents that the millions going into the new documentary building on the edge of town is money well spent.

An observational documentary filmed over two years by Claire Simon, THE GROCER’S SON, THE MAYOR, THE VILLAGE AND THE WORLD records the struggles of launching a startup, alongside the timeless rhythms of the village: pruning fruit trees, harvesting grapes, making wine. It is about hope and dreams, ancient crafts and new technologies—and the power of documentaries.

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