Allegro pacts with Saban on telefilms

To film 12 in Montreal over the next year

MONTREAL — Canadian producer Allegro Films has teamed with Saban Entertainment to make 12 TV movies, set to be filmed over the next year in Montreal.

The telefilms, most of which will be thrillers, will be produced in collaboration with Canuck pay channels the Movie Network (TMN) and Super Ecran, which will take Canadian rights to the pics. Saban Intl. will distribute all the films outside North America.

The projects were pulled together by Los Angeles-based producer Legend Entertainment, the new joint venture pairing Mont-real-based Coscient Group (which owns Allegro) and former Allegro president Tom Berry.

Legend will sell the pics in the U.S. It is the first major initiative involving Legend, which was set up late last year by Berry. The slate of pics also marks a new direction for Allegro, which had been concentrating on fewer, more pricey features in recent years, like “Screamers” and “The Assignment.” Each of the pics in the new package will be in the $3 million budget range.

“My aim is to have a volume activity that generates a library and a cash flow that will allow us to work on the bigger pictures like ‘The Assignment,’ ” said Allegro president Jacques Methe.

Methe said Allegro will continue to occasionally make pics in the $10 million to $20 million range, but there are no such projects set to shoot.

Legend president Berry is also in the midst of developing bigger-budget films. Allegro is keen to do more co-productions with France, where Methe worked for several years, and the Montreal company just wrapped lensing on “Babel,” a French-Canadian co-production with Ima Films of Paris.

“Over the last year, Allegro has produced several terrific motion pictures featuring high-profile talent and compelling storylines,” said Lance Robbins, president, motion pictures and television, at Saban Entertainment.

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