Umedia, the Paris based international sales and co-production outfit launched in 2004 by Frédéric Corvez, is expanding into production and theatrical distribution - and is being rebranded in the process.
The company will now split its activities into three distinct operations: international sales, production and theatrical distribution – which will be run as separate businesses operating independently as companies and distinct legal entities. Urban Distribution International will handle international sales; production will be managed by Urban Factory, and Urban Distribution will oversee domestic theatrical releases. The change of name will also clear up any confusion with Belgian tax shelter film outfit UMedia (formerly known as the Motion Investment Group).
“Over the last two years, our activity as producers has been on the rise. It made sense for us to separate and clarify our production and sales outfits, which are experiencing significant growth. Today, our line-up of upcoming productions includes several exciting projects that we look forward to developing with our partners,” CEO Frédéric Corvez told Screen.
In the run-up to Cannes, Urban Factory has now announced a bulging initial slate including Mobil Home the debut feature film by François Pirot, starring Guillaume Gouix and Arthur Dupont, in coproduction with Tarantula Belgium and Luxembourg; Connecting South by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud, a documentary on acclaimed musician and political activist Gilberto Gil to be shot next May in Brazil, Australia, and South Africa in coproduction with Dreampixies (Switzerland) and Bossa Nova (Brazil); L’Amante du Rif , the new feature by Moroccan director Narjiss Nejjar, La Strada per casa by Bruno Oliviero starring Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Emmanuelle Devos, a French-Italian co-production with Invisibile Film and Lumiere & Co; El Mundoby sibling Cannes Cinefondation-bound directorial team Daniel and Diego Vega from Peru; and S.K. the feature debut by Franco-Hungrarian director Laszlo Nemes (who was Bela Tarr’s assistant), which is currently in development. The company is also backing Cheat’in, the new animated feature film by cult favorite Bill Plympton.
On the international sales front, Urban Distribution International has sevearl films currently in post-production: My Little Princess by Eva Ionesco starring Isabelle Hupert, pre-sold to Germany (X Verleih) and Taiwan (Joint Entertainment); Death for Sale, the third feature by Faouzï Bensaïdi;Once upon a time, Veronica by Brazilian director Marcelo Gomes; and From Thursday to Sunday by Dominga Sotomayor, a young Chilean director and Cinéfondation alumnus.
The company is also handling sales on Cannes Un Certain Regard selection Hard Labor by Brazilian directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra.
Eric Schnedecker, who joined the company last year, has been promoted to Head of International Sales and will handle the Americas and Western Europe. Keiko Funato will handle sales for Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.
Urban Distribution recently handled its first theatrical release,108 – Cuchillo de Palo by Renate Costa, on March 23. The distribution company launched by Frédéric Corvez, Julie James and Charles Oostenbroek is preparing to release Symbol by Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto.
“Though the three companies do intend to work together, there are no exclusive agreements between them,” Corvez added. “However, the three companies all share the mission of defending international director-driven cinema and maintaining the approach that has worked for us up to now: establishing and nurturing long-lasting relationships with talented new directorial voices and producers.”