Magazine article Variety

Kudos Lift Gallic Biz

Magazine article Variety

Kudos Lift Gallic Biz

Article excerpt

The awards triumph of "The Artist" is boosting more than the egos and fortunes of its creative team. The entire French industry is basking in the glow of the Cesar-Oscar winner, which may help maintain the country's film subsidies. Beyond that, the film is bound to be the shining example of international production, furthering the benefits from last year's Oscar winner "The King's Speech."

"That is a good opportunity for Europe," says Philippe Carcassonne at Cine@, which, with Gaumont, is producing Anne Fontaine's yet-to-be-titled English-language debut, with Naomi Watts and Robin Wright.

The trend began before "The Artist," with big Gallic outfits - Studiocanal, Wild Bunch, Gaumont, Pathe, EuropaCorp - moving into English-language productions with bigger budgets in upscale, authence-friendly films. And while the largely silent "Artist" can't exactly be called "English-language," the pic certainly features the global melting pot of talent now in favor.

A U.S. distribution deal may not even be necessary in some cases. Movies made by French companies with budgets below $25 million can be financed and recoup without such a deal.

"French groups and independents will probably keep investing in medium-sized indie American Films," says Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, which backed The Artist," pointing to the shingle's new James Gray film, and Guillaume Canet 's "Blood Ties."

Studiocanal financed ."Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and is cofinancing the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" as well as Susanne Bier's "Serena," with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Diving into more mainstream fare, these mini-studios find willing partners among a burgeoning bevy of indie production houses - La Petite Reine, Quad, Les Productions du Tresor, LGM, Why Not, Fidelite, Dimitri Rassam, Aton Soumache - which are making films with artistic and social-issue heft, as well as box office and international sales ambitions.

Paris-based producer Said Ben Said, who is producing Brian De Palma's "Passion"; Paulo Branco, who is shepherding David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis"; and Georges Bermann, who is producing Michel Gondry's "The We and the I," are examples of European producers with global aims.

"'The Artist' symbolizes the ability French producers now have to access American talent, raise the financing in Europe and put together high-quality, artistically ambitious movies in the midbudget range for the international market," says Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky at Quad Films, which produced "The Intouchables," is developing the Englishlanguage remake of "Intouchables" with TWC and casting "Diamonds Dogs," the first English-language film from "Heartbreaker's" helmer Pascal Chaumeil. …

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