Deal includes Canadian rights to TV, pix

MONTREAL — Coscient Astral Distribution has inked a new output agreement with TF1 Intl., the international distribution arm of the French broadcaster, to give the Montreal-based company Canuck rights to features and TV shows distributed by TF1.

The deal renews for another two years a TV deal that was already in place. It also gives Coscient Astral rights to TF1’s theatrical product for the first time.

TF1 is becoming a more important player in the global feature market. Execs at Coscient Astral believe the deal will give their company access to several high-profile features annually. With the new agreement, Coscient Astral nabs five TF1 features for 1997, and Jean Bureau, VP of international at Coscient Astral, said TF1 will deliver 10 features in 1998.

TF1 features to be released by Coscient Astral under the terms of the agreement include Spanish helmer Carlos Saura’s “Taxi,” a dark drama about urban violence, and the English-lingo pic “Witch Way Love,” toplining well-known Gallic thesps Vanessa Paradis, Jean Reno and Jeanne Moreau.

It is an important deal for Coscient Astral, which was formed last year when Coscient Group of Montreal acquired Astral Distribution from Montreal-based Astral Communications. The company wants to become a more significant theatrical player in Canada in both English and French. Before the acquisition of Astral Distribution by Coscient, the Astral division was primarily involved in the TV distribution biz in Canada.

The TV side of the agreement gives Coscient Astral access to a large catalog of telepics, series, documentaries and animation shows, and Bureau said the market is growing in Canada for this TF1 fare, thanks to the increase in the number of specialty channels.

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