French producer and distributor Rezo Films will bring to fruition a long-gestating plan to expand into international sales at this weekend's Rendez-Vous of French cinema, as well as at next month's Berlin Market.

The new Rezo Films International operation will handle eight to ten feature films a year, in an equal mix of French pictures and international third-party pick-ups.

Headed by Laurent Danielou, the sales team comprises Cecile Gaget from TF1 International and Jeremie Segay, a scout for the Directors' Fortnight sidebar to the Cannes festival.

Explaining the launch into sales Danielou says: "Rezo is expanding the number of films it produces - four in 2004 - and we will represent these. What makes this urgent is that it has become impossible to finance a film in France without foreign cash, such is the state of investment from TV. For the Rohmer film [Triple Agent, which was in competition in Berlin] we needed 20 international pre-sales to get it made.".

Another aspect is the new outfit's ability to take purely commercial, money-making decisions. Beyond Rezo's own productions and co-productions, the sales arm will be looking to pick-up international sales rights to third-party films. It expects to announce the first two within the next month.

Wherever they come from, the titles it takes on are expected to fit the line that Rezo founder Jean-Michel Rey has pursued for ten years.

"We are all about art and experimental films that have a serious commercial potential. We sometimes joke that the range extends from first films to Bergmann," says Danielou. (Rezo recently became the first distributor in the world to give Ingmar Bergman's Saraband a commercial, all digital release and in three weeks has recorded 23,800 admissions from two screens.)

The Paris and Berlin slate kicks off with Zaina, Rider Of The Atlas, a Euros 7.5m epic about a girl crossing the Atlas Mountains by horse. Currently in post-production, it was directed by Bourlem Guerdjou (Living In Paradise).

Also making its market debut is Princess Of The Sun, a Euros 7m Philippe Leclerc-directed animation about an adventure undertaken by Tutankhamen and Akhesa.