French production outfit Chic Films has given a green light to a new film from director Pierre Laffargue set in present day Dakar and starring French rapper MC Jean Gab'1, Carole Karemera, Francois Levantal and Anton Yakovlev.

The $4.1m (Euros 3.2m) Black is set to start shooting in Paris in late February and will continue in Dakar where MC Jean Gab'1's character, a Parisian gangster, travels to steal a diamond-filled suitcase.

Canal Plus and Cine Cinema are in to help finance the project with TF1 Video handling video rights.

Chic will attend the Berlinale co-production market with Black as well as Antoine Desrosieres' Third World People starring Kristin Scott-Thomas in an English-language French/German/South African co-production; and road movie Ze Malandro written by Central Station's co-screenwriter Marcos Bernstein.

Further upcoming projects on Chic's slate include Jacques Audiard's The Prophet from a script by Abdel Raouf Dafri and Nicolas Peufaillit in co-production with Why Not; A Fond from Frederic Jardin in co-production with Thomas Langmann's La Petite Reine; black comedy Lawyers In Love starring Edouard Baer and directed by Simon Brook; Marvin And Me based on the book by Richard Olivier about Marvin Gaye; and Blindfolded also from Laffargue.