France has a dynamic film industry with a global outlook, and its leading players will all be in Cannes. Screen profiles the industry insiders, producers, distributors, sales companies and financiers it pays to know
The Cannes film festival and market is the pre-eminent gathering for the world’s film industry and the French contingent is naturally at the centre of the scrum. But the French industry has earned its position, and not just because it hosts the film festival on home soil.
France occupies an increasingly significant role in English-language film production, continues to increase its financial and cultural support for cinema du monde and boasts an indigenous industry which is among the world’s most prosperous. Gone are the days when France cared only about French-language films. France truly has an industry with a global mindset. With this in mind, Screen chose to identify some of the French companies or individuals to know on the Croisette this May and all year round.
Company profiles by Nancy Tartaglione and Melanie Goodfellow. Companies are listed in no order of rank or preference.
Need to know: The indefatigable general delegate of the Cannes film festival, Thierry Frémaux spends most of his year preparing the line-up for the world’s pre-eminent film event. Since taking over the selection in 2001, Frémaux has invigorated the festival with his own imprimatur running from grand masters such as Jean-Luc Godard to controversial choices such as Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible and forging a healthy relationship with the Hollywood studios.
In Cannes: During the Cannes fortnight, the highly respected cinema historian — who is also the director of Lyon’s Institut Lumiere — can most prominently be seen welcoming directors, stars and other guests to screenings from his perch atop the red-carpeted steps.
Need to know: In charge of the Cannes film festival for more than 30 years as artistic director, Gilles Jacob took on the mantel of president in 2000 and handed over the official selection to Thierry Frémaux in 2004. He continues to play a key role in the festival. Jacob recently published Le Fantome Du Capitaine, a collection of some 60 letters written to illustrious Cannes habitués such as Catherine Deneuve, Woody Allen, Juliette Binoche, Federico Fellini and Jane Fonda during his years as head of the festival.
In Cannes: Jacob meets and greets festival guests and attendees, attends official engagements and ensures the festival is running smoothly. “The last day is devoted entirely to the deliberations of the Competition jury, which I attend to ensure the regularity of the discussions, without taking an active part,” he says.
Need to know: A guardian of France’s rich cinema heritage, Martine Offroy is president of the Gaumont Pathé Archives, which she was instrumental in creating. She is also president of the Toulouse Cinematheque.
In Cannes: Offroy is responsible for the running order of the twice-nightly red-carpet ceremonies in which 600-700 people climb the steps of the Palais du Cinema. She also oversees seating arrangements for the festival’s nightly official dinners, including the opening banquet for 700 people.
Frederic Boyer, Christian Jeune, Jean-Christophe Berjon
Need to know: Frédéric Boyer took over from Olivier Pere as artistic director of Directors’ Fortnight in 2010, after six years on the selection committee. In his first edition last year, he put debutant feature makers firmly in the spotlight. Christian Jeune is director of the Film Department and deputy general delegate and is an all-powerful behind-the-scenes figure at the festival. Responsible for scouting films for the Official Selection, Jeune is an adviser to Thierry Frémaux. The 2011 event will be Jean-Christophe Berjon’s seventh and last as chief of International Critics’ Week. Critic and historian Charles Tesson takes over for 2012.
Need to know: It has been a tumultuous year for the mini-major founded by Luc Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam in 2000, following Le Pogam’s acrimonious departure earlier this year. He and Besson, who first met at Gaumont in the mid-1980s where they collaborated on hits such as Subway and The Big Blue, are at loggerheads. Le Pogam blames the arrival of former advertising executive Christophe Lambert last July as Besson’s right-hand man and CEO for changes to the company which forced him out. Lambert was due to give a presentation of the company’s future strategy in early May.
In Cannes: EuropaCorp lobbied hard to get a Competition slot for Tree Of Life, which it pre-bought in 2009. It also co-produced The Source. In the market, the sales team will unveil Akim Isker’s comedy about two armed robbers The Hide Out. Thierry Binisti’s adaptation of Valerie Zenatti’s A Bottle In The Gaza Sea will also screen.
TF1 & UGC
Need to know: In 2009, TF1 International and UGC International created two 70/30 joint-ventures whereby the former sells UGC-produced titles and the latter distributes titles in France from TF1’s roster. Patrick Binet and Nicolas Eschbach head the TF1 arm with Henri Ernst atop UGC Distribution under the direction of UGC Images’ Brigitte Maccioni. The set-up has a long and circular history with Binet having hired Ernst for UGC in the mid-1990s before they both segued to TF1 and TFM.
In Cannes: Eschbach says TF1 is ramping up its English-language film involvement with one or two big projects a year. “International has changed a lot in the past few years,” he says, suggesting those French films which hit on a worldwide scale have become exceptions. UGC for its part also releases UGC’s own productions as well as co-productions and pick-ups.
Need to know: Cécile Gaget, now aided by former Roissy Films sales executive Yohann Comte, oversees international sales for Gaumont, the world’s oldest movie studio. The venerable company had a busy 2010 with Rose Bosch’s Alain Goldman-produced Holocaust drama The Round Up along with Fred Cavayé’s action film Point Blank which both spurred strong sales. Gaumont also enhanced its English-language offerings, notably handling Vincenzo Natali’s Splice and Massy Tadjedin’s ensemble picture Last Night starring Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet.
In Cannes: In keeping with the company’s petalled logo, Gaget says she hopes this year at Cannes she’ll be “as fresh as a daisy”.
Need to know: In the past few years, the ambitious production, sales and distribution company led by CEO Olivier Courson, has expanded into multi-territory distribution via its German and UK subsidiaries Kinowelt and Optimum respectively and ramped up international production. Last year, StudioCanal clinched the home entertainment licence to distribute the Miramax catalogue in Europe. Its international sales arm has stepped up with titles such as Blackbird, starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde.
In Cannes: Sales chief Harold Van Lier is expecting a busy festival and says the company ultimately aims to compete with the likes of Summit and Lionsgate. “We want to be in the top five of sales agents in the world,” he says.
Need to know: It has been a busy year for Pathé. The venerable major is sticking with the team that helped it make Welcome To The Sticks the highest-grossing French film of all time. Pathé will co-produce and distribute actor-director Dany Boon’s next three films as well as naming him to the company’s board. It has also produced and is releasing Monsieur Papa, the directorial debut of Sticks co-star Kad Merad. Meanwhile, Daniel Auteuil will team with producers Alain Sarde and Pathe’s Jérome Seydoux on three new films based on the plays of Marcel Pagnol.
In Cannes: The international sales team, led by Muriel Sauzay in Paris and Mike Runagall in London, is working with a slate which includes Paolo Sorrentino’s Competition title This Must Be The Place and Phyllida Lloyd’s biopic of Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep, in the market.
Need to know: Under the direction of Thierry Desmichelle, the M6-owned SND has become one of France’s most aggressive buyers and a powerful distributor. The company has a roughly 10% stake in Summit Entertainment giving it access to the juggernaut Twilight series and it boasts a relationship with Marvel Entertainment. Among SND’s upcoming releases are Alex de la Iglesia’s The Last Circus, Jodie Foster’s The Beaver (screening out of competition in Cannes) and Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne.
In Cannes: Last Cannes, SND announced it would finance Pascal Laugier’s English-language debut, The Tall Man starring Jessica Biel, and now SND’s Lionel Uzan and his team are handling sales on the title. This year, new projects including “a very original and feel-good” French film with international potential will be unveiled.
Need to know: The market master, Jérome Paillard runs the Cannes Marché du Film — the world’s largest and most important movie exchange. Under his stewardship, the market has grown in size and added schemes such as the Cinando web platform and the Ventana Sur market in Buenos Aires.
In Cannes: Paillard oversees the Short Film Corner, a showcase for short films which has increased from 450 films in 2004 to more than 1,700 last year, as well as the Producers’ Network through which more than 500 international producers have the chance to discuss co-productions and financing options during 10 days of meetings, including breakfasts, speed-dating rounds, masterclasses and happy hours.
Distributors par excellence
Need to know: Diaphana celebrated its 20th birthday two years ago and for the past 11 years has had a strong production arm with notable successes such as Dominik Moll’s Harry, He’s Here To Help and Denis Dercourt’s The Page Turner.
In Cannes: Headed by industry veteran Michel Saint-Jean, the company has teamed with Moll for The Monk and has Safy Nebbou’s Mauvaises Herbes in production. Diaphana releases about 12 films per year. Acquisitions head Karin Beyens says European films are a priority along with titles from South Korea and the Americas.
Need to know: Mars Films was created by Jean Labadie as the niche label of Labadie’s Bac Films in 1998 under Stéphane Célérier. Despite a move to StudioCanal, which took over Mars in 2002, and a parting of the ways with StudioCanal in 2006, Célérier still runs Mars and has turned it into one of France’s leading independent distributors. Working with films from such diverse talent as Alejandro Amenabar, Fred Cavayé, Michel Gondry, Xavier Beauvois, Tom Ford, Julie Delpy and Woody Allen, Célérier is respected for his discerning eye.
In Cannes: Mars has French rights to Allen’s Midnight In Paris, among other titles.
Indie & integrated
Need to know: To say that sales, distribution and financing outfit Wild Bunch has grown into a very powerful film company since it struck out on its own in 2002 would be something of an understatement. Since then, the company has had its share of Oscar and Palme d’Or winners alike as well as some of France’s biggest box-office hits, all while ramping up its European distribution network.
In Cannes: Co-founder Vincent Maraval and his sales team have been busy working on projects such as Asterix And Obelix: God Save Britannia, Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmasters, Fernando Meirelles’ 360 and Christophe Barratier’s War Of the Buttons. Despite a packed slate featuring several more official Cannes selections, Maraval won’t sweat it from his table at La Potiniere where he habitually holds court during the festival.
Need to know: International sales and co-production group Umedia recently rebranded as Urban, marking a move into production and theatrical distribution. Production arm Urban Factory is working on a slate of international projects including Bruno Oliviero’s Italian co-production La Strada Per Casa, starring Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Emmanuelle Devos; Urban Distribution recently released Renate Costa’s 108-Cuchillo De Palo; and sales outfit Urban Distribution International is handling Eva Ionesco’s My Little Princess, screening in Critics’ Week and Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s Un Certain Regard selection, Hard Labour (Trabalhar Cansa).
In Cannes: Company founder Frédéric Corvez will be joined by head of international sales Eric Schnedecker and Keiko Funato, who handles sales for Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. “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,” says Corvez.
Need to know: Memento Films scored a coup in 2008 when it represented Laurent Cantet’s The Class, which went on to win the Palme d’Or that year, ending a nearly 20-year streak of non-French winners in Cannes. But that is just one of the feathers in the cap of this sales, distribution and production house which works consistently with pedigree talent. Co-founder Emilie Georges says Memento remains committed to “two big-scale” films a year while also working with new talent on a total of eight to 10 projects per annum. She says she and partner Alexandre Mallet-Guy have “never refused so many projects as we have recently”, which speaks to the company’s growth and success over the years.
In Cannes: Memento is working with Cantet on the director’s English-language debut, Foxfire, set to start shooting this summer; has Naomi Kawase’s Hanazu no tsuki, in Competition; and is cleaning up sales on its Berlin breakout Nader And Simin: A Separation.
Need to know: Leading producer and distributor ARP is as busy as ever. It co-produced Italian Competition title This Must Be The Place and Everardo Gout’s midnight screener Days Of Grace. Productions underway include actress Sylvie Testud’s directorial debut La Vie D’Une Autre, starring Juliette Binoche as a mother rediscovering her life, opposite Mathieu Kassovitz. Also shooting is first-time director Patrick Mille’s Mauvaise Fille, starring Bob Geldof and Carole Bouquet alongside Izia Higelin, daughter of French singer Jacques Higelin, which is an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical book by Justine Levy, daughter of French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. ARP is also a co-producer on Ari Folman’s live action/animation hybrid The Congress, the Israeli director’s follow-up to Waltz With Bashir.
In Cannes: Company heads Michele Halberstadt and Laurent Petin will be focusing on acquisitions.
Need to know: A beloved fixture on the French distribution and international sales scene for more than 25 years, Jean Labadie is a force to be reckoned with. In 1986 he founded Bac Films, a company he ran in good times (eight Palme d’Or winners) and in bad (a misstep into exhibition) for 21 years until he was squeezed out in late 2007. Immediately forming Le Pacte, Labadie has continued to make his mark working with noted international talents including Elia Suleiman, Julie Bertucelli, Nicolas Winding Refn, Christophe Honoré, Jim Jarmusch, Ari Folman, Francois Ozon and longtime collaborator Nanni Moretti.
In Cannes: Le Pacte, with a sales team now led by former Bac executive Camille Neel is moving into phase two, says Labadie, who intends to focus increasingly on acquisitions and international sales. Le Pacte’s festival titles include We Have A Pope and Drive in Competition and Konstantin Bojanov’s Avé in Critics Week.
Need to know: The Paris-based arthouse exhibitor, distributor and producer MK2 was founded by Marin Karmitz in 1974. He handed the reins to son Nathanael in 2005. On the exhibition front, the company, which owns 10 venues in Paris, will open its first provincial theatre in Marseilles in 2013. In terms of production, MK2 is in pre-production on Olivier Assayas’ Apres-Mai, due to start shooting after Cannes. MK2 is also set to open a boutique cinema and music club in Paris called Silencio.
In Cannes: Nathanael Karmitz and his team will be screening a 10-minute trailer of Walter Salles’ much-anticipated adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road in the market and consolidating pre-sales of Apres-Mai. MK2 also produced Directors’ Fortnight title, The Fairy.
Les Films du Losange
Need to know: Margaret Ménégoz has been spending her time on the set of longtime collaborator Michael Haneke’s upcoming Amour. The film, like other Haneke projects, including 2009 Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon, is produced by Les Films du Losange. A former Unifrance president, Ménégoz has been running the 49-year-old production, distribution and sales company since 1975, with a taste for stimulating and relevant film-making.
In Cannes: According to sales executive Agathe Valentin, Losange has a diverse line-up with titles such as Marius Holst’s King Of Devil’s Island, comedy Let My People Go! and Nicolas Klotz’s Lovers.
Need to know: In a busy year for production, distribution and sales house Rezo Films, the company signed a deal with France’s Studio 37 to distribute all of the latter’s films including Ces Amours-La by Claude Lelouch, Buried from director Rodrigo Cortes and the animated film, Chico & Rita. Production was also completed on Julie Delpy’s 2 Days In New York.
In Cannes: Sales chief Laurent Danielou is unveiling Stéphane Brizé’s A Few Hours Of Spring, now in production, and is selling Cristian Jimenez’s UCR title Bonsai.
Need to know: Bac Films, a subsidiary of Bac Majestic, has undergone a complete transformation in the past five years since the departure of founder Jean Labadie in 2007. Roch Lener, CEO of animation studio Millimages, which had taken a majority stake in the company in 2003, took on the role of president. Bac continues to distribute and sell a wide range of films, including Danish Berlin feature The Great Bear and US title Across The Line: The Exodus Of Charlie Wright.
In Cannes: Gilles Sousa — who heads the sales team at Bac following Camille Neel’s departure to Le Pacte — and his team are screening Audrey Fouché’s drama Memories Corner and Alexandre Coffre’s comedy Borderline.
Need to know: The Hadida brothers, Samuel and Victor, founded Metro in 1978 and later production company Davis Films in the early 1990s through which Sammy produced True Romance and Killing Zoe. He has gone on to work with directors such as Tony Scott, Christophe Gans and Terry Gilliam. Victor heads up distribution for Metro which is among France’s most successful indies. The company releases around 20-30 acquisitions a year, from Hollywood titles to French and foreign arthouse films. Metro also has a long-standing relationship with New Line and Lionsgate.
In Cannes: Head of acquisitions and legal affairs Cyril Burkel tirelessly scours the market for interesting pick-ups. Hadida is in production on Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. Lionsgate is handling sales.
Need to know: Pyramide, founded by Claudie Cheval, Fabienne Vonier, Francis Boespflug, Louis and Vincent Malle and Michel Seydoux in 1989, is an indie force in France. In 2008, former sales chief Eric Lagesse took a majority stake in sales and distribution arm Pyramide Films; Vonier maintains a minority stake and 100% ownership of Pyramide Productions.
In Cannes: Pyramide’s titles include Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre in Competition, Bruno Dumont’s Hors Satan in UCR and Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Elena.
National Centre for Cinematography and the Moving Image (CNC)
Need to know: Founded in 1946, France’s state-backed film agency CNC is attempting to move with the times. Alongside traditional activities such as administering film subsidies, the body is paying increasing attention to new technologies, hence its recent name change to include “and the Moving Image”. Eric Garandeau was appointed president of the body in January, taking over from Véronique Cayla. Immediately prior to this appointment, 38-year-old Garandeau was working as a culture and communications adviser to French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
In Cannes: Garandeau will present the CNC’s annual report on French cinema on May 15. That same day, he will also attend the annual meeting of the European Film Agency Directors. The CNC will also host a workshop devoted to French-Brazilian co-productions on May 13.
Arte France Cinema
Need to know: Created in 2000, the French film arm of Franco-German broadcaster Arte has an annual production budget of about $10m (€7m), which it puts into some 20 films. Executive director Michel Reilhac has become increasingly involved in the transmedia arena and recently announced Arte Cinema’s first cross-media project, Rosa, Lucile Chaufour’s exploration of femininity which will comprise a feature-length science-fiction film, an exhibition, websites and short films.
In Cannes: Alongside networking with producers and directors of traditional cinema, Reilhac will announce further collaboration between Arte and London-based cross-media consultancy Power to the Pixel. Véronique Cayla will also be present for her first Cannes as the president of the entire Arte group.
Need to know: France’s film export body, Unifrance works year-round to promote French films via events such as the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, London, and New York, where former StudioCanal executive John Kochman heads up the US operation. This year the group inaugurated MyFrenchFilmFestival.com, a two-week global online festival.
In Cannes: Unifrance president, producer Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre, will host lunches and meetings at the International Village tent.
IDF Film Commission
Need to know: Olivier-René Veillon, head of the Ile de France Film Commission, is looking forward to the opening night of Cannes this year when the French capital will be showcased in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. Veillon oversees the commission which manages a $19.9m (€14m) fund earmarked for films shot in and around Paris. It is also a founding partner of Ecoprod, an initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of film shoots.
In Cannes: The fund is celebrating its 10th anniversary while the commission will meet with its partners in the Capital Regions for Cinema initiative and renew its agreement with Film London, with which it partners on the Production and Finance Market as well as Parisfx.
The power brokers
Need to know: In early 2011, producer Alain Goldman’s Légende struck a deal with studio Gaumont to become long-term partners in film and TV production. Gaumont at the time also took a 37.5% stake in the company. A leading French producer for some 20 years, Goldman has had a hand in titles including Ridley Scott’s 1492, Martin Scorsese’s Casino, Mathieu Kassovitz’s The Crimson Rivers, Olivier Dahan’s Oscar-winning La Vie En Rose and, more recently, Holocaust drama The Round Up, directed by his wife, Rose Bosch.
In Cannes: Goldman is gearing up several “big new projects”.
Pierre-Ange Le Pogam
Need to know: Le Pogam’s final productions under the EuropaCorp banner included Guillaume Canet’s Little White Lies (Les Petit Mouchoirs), the best performing French film in 2010 with 5.5 million admissions. Le Pogam was behind EuropaCorp’s acquisition of Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life for France.
In Cannes: Following his stormy departure from EuropaCorp, Le Pogam told French broadsheet Le Monde in March: “I’ve got my freedom back. I can devote myself once again to what I like doing — producing, co-producing and distributing quality films. I’ve got four projects in mind and I am currently organising the finance for my new company.” Expect an announcement on the Croisette.
Said Ben Said
Need to know: Said Ben Said set off on his own in 2010 to “be my own boss”, he told Screen. The producer’s SBS Films had previously had a deal with UGC, where he was also head of the studio’s international sales. Now, he is using that experience to distinguish himself from his contemporaries and will produce and sell his own films with a four-person Paris-based team. Having long had a hand in international, Ben Said is sticking with what he knows, working with favoured collaborators such as André Téchiné and Pascal Bonitzer, as well as new partners including Roman Polanski (God Of Carnage) and Brian De Palma (Passion). The aim, he says, is to make two English-language and two French-language pictures per year.
In Cannes: Ben Said will be busy selling the Polanski and De Palma titles as well as possibly announcing new projects. He also has Téchiné’s Impardonnables in Directors’ Fortnight.
Need to know: France’s BackUp Films is a financing specialist which structures projects and puts together financing packages for creative producers. The nine-year-old company works with international titles which cross borders. Now run by founding principals Jean-Baptiste Babin, David Atlan-Jackson and Joel Thibout, the company has worked with titles including Fabrice du Welz’s The Ordeal and Vinyan and more recently Bahman Ghobadi’s Nobody Knows About Persian Cats, Tom Ford’s A Single Man, Julien LeClercq’s The Assault and Susanne Bier’s foreign-language Oscar winner In A Better World.
In Cannes: The team will meet producers on new and ongoing projects.
Need to know: Celluloid Dreams has long been a sales agent, producer and distributor of auteur-driven product. Once known as The Director’s Label, the company has worked with Jacques Audiard, the Dardenne brothers, Francois Ozon, Sylvain Chomet, Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami and Takeshi Kitano among others. Celluloid is now being very selective in filling its sales slate and recently teamed with the Blue Lake fund and Blue Ice Entertainment on a slate of specialty films. It is also focusing on its global VoD platform, The Auteurs, and last year partnered with XYZ Films to expand genre label Celluloid Nightmares.
In Cannes: Founder Hengameh Panahi will be in town with films including Catalin Mitulescu’s Loverboy, screening in Un Certain Regard.
Need to know: Since they burst onto the international sales scene in 2008, Elle Driver partners Eva Diederix and Adeline Fontan Tessaur have become known for their edgy and eclectic taste. Among their recent titles was last year’s Critics’ Week selection Rubber, directed by Quentin Dupieux, about a homicidal tyre. Elle Driver recently shifted into high gear with full-on financing. The Open Water team of Chris Kentis and Laura Lau are behind a one-take remake of The Silent House (La Casa Muda) and is the first title fully financed by the company, which is eager to “spend how we like on new independent talents”, says Tessaur.
In Cannes: As Tessaur says, “We work with completely crazy films — ones others wouldn’t dare to take.”
Need to know: Films Distribution — co-founded by Boston University graduates Nicolas Brigaud-Robert and Francois Yon — faced a quandary two years ago when having to pass on too many films it really wanted. They created Films Boutique, a Berlin-based sales company which takes titles which require nurturing to realise their international potential.
In Cannes: The company is working with a very diverse line-up of about 20 films which Brigaud-Robert says is “definitely world cinema”. Upcoming titles include Brillante Mendoza’s Captured, Jens Lien’s Sons Of Norway and Marina Zenovich’s Roman Polanski follow-up documentary, Odd Man Out.
Need to know: Coproduction Office has a gift for nurturing key new talent. Philippe Bober founded the company in 1987 in Berlin and in 1996 created production arm Essential Filmproduktion. In 2000, the sales operations moved to Paris where a French production arm, Parisienne de Production, was established. Bober has worked with film-makers such as Lars von Trier, Carlos Reygadas, Kornel Mundruczo and Cristi Puiu.
In Cannes: Handling three titles in Directors’ Fortnight (among others): Gust Van Den Berghe’s Blue Bird, Ruben Ostlund’s Play and Bertrand Mandico’s Boro In The Box.
Need to know: Sales house Other Angle bolted out of the gate at the European Film Market in 2009 with La Premiere Etoile, which became a sleeper hit in France and sold strongly around the world. The company went on to handle Riad Sattouf’s coming-of-age hit The French Kissers (Les Beaux Gosses) at Cannes later that year. Founded by former UGC and Warner Bros executive Olivier Albou and his wife Laurence Schonberg, the outfit continues to work on pedigree fare with international potential.
In Cannes: Albou and Schonberg will be on the Croisette with Olivier Dahan’s hot new project The Lords, about a group of ex-football stars who reunite to save a village in Brittany.
Need to know: In 2007, Pape Boye and Jaume Domenech named their sales company for the bar car on French trains. The duo have become canny tastemakers working with new international talent. Among past finds are El Rey De La Montana director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, selected by Timur Bekmambetov to make the buzzy Apollo 18, and Shotgun Stories from director Jeff Nichols who is now doing Take Shelter for which Sony has English-speaking rights.
In Cannes: Boye and Barcelona-based Domenech intend to work with a mix of European and foreign films with at least two big English-language titles in the mix.
Need to know: Loic Magneron’s Wide Management is a strong indie sales outfit working largely with arthouse titles at festivals. In 2010, the company created Wide House, a specialty arm devoted to the production and sales of feature documentaries. Magneron is also spearheading Eye on Film, an initiative working to improve theatrical and festival exposure for feature debuts.
In Cannes: Wide is also represented on the festival circuit by sales executive Anais Clanet, who had success with Claude Peres’ Unfaithful and Laure Charpentier’s Gigola.
Need to know: Created in 2009 by ex-EuropaCorp sales executive Grégoire Melin on the back of a first-look deal with Studio 37, Kinology has expanded this year with the addition of sales executives Gaelle Mareschi (from EuropaCorp) and Camille Moreau (UGC). “We’re in phase two,” says Melin. Top titles to date include Sarah’s Key, starring Kristin Scott Thomas.
In Cannes: Kinology is selling David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis, due to start shooting on May 24. Other titles on its slate include Mathieu Kassovitz’s Rebellion, Everardo Gout’s Days Of Grace, Emmanuel Mouret’s L’Art D’Aimer and 3D animation The Prodigies. It will also unveil major projects from Taken director Pierre Morel and The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja.
Need to know: PTZ International, the new sales and packaging company set up in 2009 by Tézé, the former head of sales at TF1 International, has completed pre-sales on Barthelemy Grossmann’s Nazi Officer’s Wife, the Peter Reichenbach-produced Night Train To Lisbon and Jalil Lespert’s Des Vents Contraires starring Audrey Tautou.
In Cannes: Tézé is set to announce a project from a high-profile talent.
Need to know: Marc Missonnier and Olivier Delbosc’s Fidelité has been working with new and established talent since 1993. The duo have produced all Francois Ozon’s films and are responsible for shepherding the career of writer-director Laurent Tirard.
In Cannes: Fidelité is producing Tirard’s Asterix And Obelix: God Save Britannia which Wild Bunch is handling internationally, and producing the next film from Eran Riklis, Playoff.
Haut et Court
Need to know: Created in 1992 by Carole Scotta, producer and distributor Haut et Court has also branched into television. In film, it is a key player in international co-productions, as demonstrated by the finance it put together for Pawel Pawlikowski’s upcoming The Woman In The Fifth, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ethan Hawke, which is due for release this summer. On the distribution side, the company is part of the European distribution network Indie Circle alongside Lucky Red, Cineart and A-Films. Upcoming French releases include Bouli Lanners’ The Giants (Les Géants).
In Cannes: Alongside acquisitions, the company is out to tie up financing of Laurent Cantet’s English-language debut, an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel Firefox, about a tough girl gang in 1950s New York, due to start shooting in Canada in July.
Need to know: Thomas Langmann, son of legendary producer Claude Berri, produces under the banner of La Petite Reine, a nod to his late father’s production company, Renn Production. Langmann, who helped develop Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatre with his father and produced Asterix At The Olympic Games solo, lost the comic-strip film franchise to Fidelité Films last year. Undeterred, Langmann is in pre-production on two titles: Christophe Barratier’s The War Of The Buttons, a sort of French Lord Of The Flies, featuring Laetitia Casta, Kad Merad and Gérard Jugnot, and on Christophe Gans’ remake of the Gothic horror picture Fantomas. He is also co-producer on Patrice Leconte’s debut animation, The Suicide Shop.
In Cannes: Unveiling the latest project from French horror maestro Alexandre Aja as well as new elements of Fantomas and War Of The Buttons.
Why Not Productions
Need to know: Pascal Caucheteux founded Why Not Productions in the mid-1990s. Today, the company is a cornerstone of auteur cinema. Caucheteux and co-head Grégoire Sorlat were awarded the prestigious Prix Daniel Toscan du Plantier in 2010, following the success of Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Grand Prix, César and Bafta-winner A Prophet, which they co-produced. The company produced Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods And Men which also won the Cannes Grand Prix and a César for best film. Other directors associated with Why Not include Jean-Francois Richet, Bruno Podalydes, Claire Denis and Arnaud Desplechin.
In Cannes: Working on new projects from Richet and Desplechin.
Need to know: After its 2010 breakout hit Heartbreaker, Quad is reteaming with backer Universal Pictures International, star Romain Duris, director Pascal Chaumeil and sales agent Kinology to make Living Is Better Than Dying, set to shoot this summer and co-starring Marion Cotillard. It is written by Quad partner Laurent Zeitoun, who penned Heartbreaker. Quad also makes shorts and commercials.
In Cannes: Quad’s Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Yann Zenou and Zeitoun will be in town with a further new project, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s Intouchables.
Les Productions du Tresor
Need to know: A prolific producer of prestige fare, Les Productions du Trésor is headed by Alain Attal. The company worked on Guillaume Canet’s debut Mon Idole and has collaborated on all his films since, including Little White Lies, the most successful local film of 2010. Attal also works regularly with Radu Mihaileanu and Nicole Garcia.
In Cannes: Attal also produced Maïwenn Le Besco’s Competition title Poliss.