EXCLUSIVE : Former TF1 sales chief plans annual 12-picture slate.  

Former TF1 sales and acquisitions chief Nicolas Eschbach [pictured] is joining forces with producer Eric Névé to launch a new international sales and co-production company called Indie Sales.

“We plan to distribute around 12 films per year. The first three years of acquisitions will be entirely financed by private fund Axone Invest,” explained Eschbach, referring to French audiovisual investment specialist.

“The focus will be on diverse, independent films from around the world with strong commercial potential,” added Eschbach.

Recent Axone investments include season two of Tom Fontana’s Borgia and Benoît Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen.

Eschbach quit his position as sales chief at Paris-based sales powerhouse TF1 International - where he sold titles such as Olivier Dahan’s La Vie en Rose and Prachya Pinkaew’s The Protector - just before Cannes last year.

Producer Névé is best known for titles such as Jan Kounen’s Doberman, Jean-Paul Solomé’s Female Agents and Frédéric Schoendoerffer’s Crime Insiders.

“I am pleased to embark on this new adventure with Eric Névé, with whom I have worked so well for many years,” said Eschbach. “Our professional backgrounds are complementary and bring a unique structure to the distribution business.

Eschbach and Névé will be joined by Elena Manrique as head of acquisitions. Manrique is a former programming executive at Canal+ Spain and a producer at Telecinco Cinema. Her executive credits include Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Daniel Monzon’s Cell 211.

“We plan to announce our first acquisitions in the coming months,” says Eschbach.