Jean-Marc Vallée, director of Toronto closing night film Young Victoria, is preparing production on Café De Flore with Montreal-based start-up production house Item7.

Launched in June, Item7 is headed by Pierre Even who produced Vallée’s 2005 Canadian box office hit C.R.A.Z.Y.and partner Marie-Claude Poulin, formerly of distributor Equinoxe Films.

Speaking with Screen International, Vallee said the project may be set up as a Canada-France co-production to attract French actors and boost a budget he estimated at $7m-$8m. The Item7 team will be meeting with a number of French distributors and production companies when Vallée is in Toronto for the Young Victoria premiere.

“It would be great to get someone like Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard or Marie-Josée Croze, for example,” Vallée said.

The film follows two story lines — one in the 1960s, one in the present — linked by a famous song. As with C.R.A.Z.Y., source music will play a strong role.

C.R.A.Z.Y. gave me a lot of confidence; wings to fly higher and explore new territories,” Vallée said. “The music is a character in its own right. It’s such a part of the characters’ lives.”

“I’m a frustrated DJ,” he added. “The good thing is that cinema gives a great opportunity to create mixed tapes and join them with images.”