Former TF1 International executive Perrine Teze is to head up a new film sponsorship division at TF1 Publicite.
Teze, who has been on maternity leave for the past six months after helping to oversee the birth of TFM - the film division's joint distribution venture with Miramax - will work in close contact with TF1's existing sponsorship division.
The idea behind the division is to link advertisers with film, allowing them to partner during the entire life of a film, from shooting through to theatrical release, DVD and international.
"TFI has the largest advertising network in France so the idea is to lean on it to provide another type of access to advertisers," Teze told ScreenDaily.com.
She added: "We want a brand to be able to get in on the ground floor and act as a sort of investor."
The first contract to be signed is between Gaz de France (the country's national gas provider) and Le Dernier Trappeur, a film by Nicolas Vanier to be released in December 2004.
Concepts like sponsorship and product placement are relatively new territory for the French film industry.
Although more and more producers are hooking up with advertisers via marketing partnerships, sponsorship and product placement there is still much ground to cover as there are only a handful of companies that provide the liaison to allow for such business.