French distribution veteran, with eye for US independent fare, to launch acquisition company called Selective Films at Cannes.

Jean-Philippe Tirel has announced he will leave his position as head of Wild Bunch Distribution (WBD) in the coming months to set up his own acquisition outfit.

“It’s not without emotion that I leave this company with which I’ve had amazing time professionally over the last eight years to throw myself into a new cinema-related adventure,” said Tirel in a statement released by Wild Bunch.

Giving more details to Screen, Tirel said he will launch a new company at Cannes called Selective Films, which will focus on acquiring international titles for the French market.

“The aim is to acquire French rights to three to four international titles a year,” he said. “I’m in talks with a major French distributor for their exploitation in France but it’s too early to announce anything yet.”

Tirel, who will clear his WBD desk in April, has been with Wild Bunch’s distribution arm since it was created out of the acquisition of Philippe Godeau’s Pan Europeene in 2004 and re-branding in 2006.

WBD Box office successes during his time at the helm include James Gray’s Two Lovers, Piranha 3D and The King’s Speech.

Tirel said his parting with Wild Bunch was amicable and had been prompted purely by his own desire to set up his own company.

Wild Bunch managing director Brahim Chioua wished Tirel well in his new endeavour: “We wish Jean-Philippe Tirel every success in his new projects and we thank him for his contribution in the development of Wild Bunch Distribution since its creation.”

According to Rentrak figures for the 12 months to January 9, WBD distributed has some 17 titles over the last past year for a market share of 3.74%, representing seven million admissions. This year’s WBD slate includes Tied, Hand in Hand, Shadow Dancer, No, Mystery and Dark Skies.