Poulin bridges gap unit

Sodec taps exec to top fundraising arm's new program

CANNES — Quebec film funder Sodec has tapped seasoned Canuck international film sales exec Marie-Claude Poulin to head up the agency’s new gap-financing program.

The gap-financing unit is part of the recently launched Fidec, an entertainment investment company designed to raise coin for Sodec.

This is the first time a Canadian public funder has been involved in such a venture.

Poulin was most recently vice president of international distribution at Lions Gate Films. Prior to her three-year stint with Lions Gate, Poulin was veepee of sales and acquisitions at Malofilm Distribution (now Behaviour Distribution).

Poulin will be responsible for evaluating and recommending the eligibility of film and TV projects for bank guarantees based on their sales potential in international markets.

Most of the pics and TV projects gap-financed by Fidec will be English-language, in contrast to Sodec’s direct-investment programs, which are more focused on supporting French-language Quebec production. Fidec will also consider helping finance international projects as long as there is a Quebec producer involved.

Fidec was started with a C$45.5 million fund ($30 million), with Sodec kicking in $13 million. A number of leading Montreal entertainment companies are also investors in the project.

Suzanne Laverdiere, head of film and TV at Sodec, said there is a real demand for a home-grown gap-financing company in Canada.

“Quebec producers were already using gap-financing companies from outside Canada and one of the problems has been that the Canadian banks have not been inclined to take the risks associated with film projects,” Laverdiere said. “So it allows us to bring this kind of financing back to Quebec.”

Fidec has already inked to gap finance a number of Canadian pics, notably “The List,” the new English-lingo remake of the French-language Quebec hit “Liste Noire,” to be directed by Sylvain Guy, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ben Gazarra and being sold by Moonstone. Fidec has also signed with the Coscient/Tom Berry co-venture Legend Entertainment to make between two and six pics in the $8 million to $10 million budget range.

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