Brussels-based distribution outfit Lumiere has secured extra financing from one of Belgium’s biggest banks, KBC, and is now looking to acquire bigger movies.
KBC has invested in Lumiere through its arm KBC Arkiv and is understood to have taken a stake of just around 20% in the company. Lumiere and KBC refused to reveal the full amount of the new investment. However,Lumiere’s co-chairman Jan De Clercq said that the company would now be in a position to double its acquisition budget.
The company currently acquires 15 to 20 movies a year. “We won’t buy more but we’ll buy bigger,”: the Lumiere boss said of the springboard that the KBC investment will provide.
Lumiere buys primarily at script stage. Its recent acquisitions include such high-profile European movies as The Monk starring Vincent Cassel (and sold by Memento), the new Philippe Claudel film Silence D’Amour (from TF1), No And Me (from Roissy) and the new Tom Tykwer feature Three (sold by Match Factory.) Other pick-ups include Norwegian Wood (from Fortissimo) and Cannes favourite Of Gods And Men (handled by WildBunch.)
De Clercq revealed that Lumiere will now be looking to pick up more English-language titles alongside the high-end, quality European films it traditionally buys.
Unlike its competitors, Lumiere is very active in TV acquisitions. The company enjoyed big success on DVD with various Scandinavian crime series including Millennium and Wallander.
Companies belonging to the Lumière group include Lumière Home Entertainment (DVD distribution), Lumière Cinema (art house cinema in Bruges) and Lunanime (film production), which is behind Vanya D’Alcantara’s new film Beyond The Steppes (recently chosen for the Locarno Film Festival). Lumiere holds shares in Benelux FilmDistributors, which handles the physical distribution of its theatrical titles.