Amalou pic extends Euro reach

LONDON — Underscoring its growing European production ambitions, Lions Gate Films has entered into its first Euro co-production, “The Salami Man,” to be directed by J.K. Amalou.

Lions Gate Films will co-produce “The Salami Man” with French outfit BC Films. Creative Filmworks, Amalou’s own banner, will handle production duties. Sam Fu Maltha, Amalou and BC Films’ Beatrice Kaufman will take producer credits.

Key cast will be largely British and French, said Joe Drake, president of Lions Gate Films Intl., which has taken worldwide distribution rights to the project outside France and Benelux.

“Salami” is budgeted at around $5 million, depending on casting. A French helmer based out of London, Amalou previously directed “Hard Men.”

“The Salami Man” is a modern revenge comedy in which a downtrodden wife turns the tables on her husband, an adulterous Italian restaurateur. “Salami” is skedded to shoot in the first quarter of 1999.

“We are looking very seriously at financing and talent opportunities in Europe,” said Drake. “There’s a growing demand for films which are made in places other than the United States. We are making a concerted effort to push into some of these other areas,” he said.

Lions Gate recently opened an office in London, headed by Bobby Allen.

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