EXCLUSIVE: €17 million production headlines a packed Gaumont slate also featuring a live action adaptation of Belle and Sebastien and Michael Youn’s comedy Vive La France.

François Cluzet and Guillaume Canet have signed up to star in Gaumont and Les Films du Cap’s upcoming Turning Tide, unfolding against the backdrop of the famous Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race.

The €17 million production headlines a packed Gaumont slate also featuring a live action adaptation of French children’s classic Belle and Sebastien and Michael Youn’s comedy Vive La France, described as “Borat meet Four Lions” by sales chief Cecile Gaget.

In his first big role since the tetraplegic Philippe in The Intouchables, Cluzet will play yachtman Yann Medec, whose attempts to win the single-handed race are complicated when he discovers a young Senegalese stowaway on board.

Canet will play Frank Drevil, a star skipper replaced by Yann at the last minute following an injury. He monitors Yann’s progress from on land.

The feature is the directorial debut for long-time Canet collaborator and cinematographer Christophe Offenstein, who is currently lensing Canet’s Blood Ties. Oscar-nominated The Artist cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman is attached as director of photography.

Shooting is due to kick off from October, stopping off at the start of the real Vendée Globe - an official partner of the film - from the French Atlantic port of Sable de L’Olonne on November 11. Like the 24,000-mile race, the picture will shoot in a number of exotic locations.

Gaumont is co-producingalongside Jean Cottin and Laurent Taieb’s Les Films du Cap, Belgian Scope Pictures and Spanish A Contra Corriente, which has pre-acquired theatrical rights.

Prior to Cannes, The Tanweer Group signed a multi-territory deal for India, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and the Middle East. It has also pre-sold to Switzerland (Frenetic Films), Canada (Metropole Films) and Taiwan (Applause Entertainment).

The live-action adaptation of Belle and Sebastien (Belle and Sebastian) is the latest work from environmentalist and director Nicolas Vanier (The Last Trapper, Loup)

The tale of the orphaned Sebastien and his snow-white mountain dogs Belle was made popular in the late 1960s by a television series that screened across Europe. It has also been the subject of a successful Japanese animation series.

Vanier plans to shoot the feature in three parts from July 2012 to April 2013 in the French Alps for a Christmas 2013 release.

A co-production between Radar Films and Epithète Films, the picture has been picked up by Tanweer for the same territories as Turning Tide and by Pathé for Switzerland.

Comedian Youn’s Vive La France is a €16 million production from Alain Goldman’s Legende.

Described as a politically incorrect postcard of France, it revolves around two wannabe terrorists - played by Youn and José Garcia - whose plans to blow-up the Eiffel Tower go astray when their Paris-bound flight is re-routed to Corsica.

Gaumont is planning a 500-copy release at the end of February 2013 for the film, due to shoot this summer. Buyers beware - Youn and Garcia will be putting an incognito appearance at Cannes.

Also at Cannes, Gaumont will show a first promo reel for Paulette, starring Bernadette Lafont as a drug-pushing granny.

The company is also planning three market screenings for Pusher, has recently sold to E1 for France where it will be distributed by Wild Side as well as to Japan (Tranformer) and Korea (Joyncontents Group).

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