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36 French features in danger following Quinta Industries collapse

Unfinished pictures could be wiped off computers belonging to post-production subsidiaries of bankrupt Quinta Industries if creditors seize equipment.

The fate of at least 36 films in various stages of post-production, including Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lelouche’s The Players, Leos Carax’ Holly Motors and Olivier Dahan’s [pictured] The Lords, remained unclear on Tuesday after suitable buyers failed to emerge for two key subsidiaries of collapsed Quinta Industries.

A commercial court in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris dismissed offers for the digital production and special effects specialists Duran and Studio Duran Duboi, on the sales block following the collapse of parent company Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Industries last Friday, as not substantial enough.

They are believed to have included offers from French post-production group Mikros Image and Christian Paris, the president of Studio Duran Duboi’s US arm, with the backing of a Santa Monica-based film fund.

FICAM, the French body for technical industries issued a statement on Monday warning that at least 36 pictures undergoing post-production at subsidiaries of Quinta Industries were at risk.

“A technical audit carried out by our federation… has brought to light the previously unsuspected risk of the total or partial loss of all the digitised elements of films in post-production that are stored on the networks of Quinta and its subsidiaries.

“For the first time in history, the technical industries will have to deal with the salvage of works whose dematerialisation makes it infinitely difficult to locate them physically and identify them digitally.”

FICAM said the servers of the Quinta Industries group could be seized as early as this week by subcontractors and creditors as well as by landlords seeking guarantees for rent.

It said the hardware, estimated to be worth €1.0 million, contained €300 million worth of “production value”, equivalent to 25% of France’s total annual film production budget. It called on the French government to step in with a salvage plan for the threatened works.

The FICAM statement detailed 10 titles that needed urgent assistance, comprising: Thomas Gilou’s La Verité Si Je Mens 3, Frédéric Forestier’s Stars of the 1980s, Dujardin and Lelouche’s The Players, Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir, Dahan’s The Lords, Claude Miller’s Therese Desqueyroux, Carax’ Holly Motors, Régis Roinsard’s Populaire, Pierre Jolivet’s Armed Hands and Laurent Tirard’s Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia.

Asterix producers Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc of Fidelité Films issued a statement on Tuesday, however, stating that the production “was not in grave danger”. Rumours were circulating the ParisFX special effects conference last week that it would be moving to Mikros Image but neither the production house nor producers would confirm this to ScreenDaily.

Beyond the issue of the digital films locked in the systems of Quinta Industries post-production subsidiaries, a number of completed titles, which were due to have their celluloid prints produced at the laboratories of LTC, another subsidiary, could miss their scheduled release dates.

“A number of films scheduled for release on 4th and 11th January are also compromised,” said the FICAM statement.  

Another cause for concern linked to the sudden closure of LTC is in the fate of the some two million films reels, including hundreds of masters, stored on the laboratories premises in the town of Saint-Cloud outside Paris.

France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC) is set to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis will all the concerned parties as well as key players in the post-production sector on Thursday to discuss possible solutions.

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