President Films taps Bergson-Vuillaume

Exec to ankle post at Gaumont

Forging ahead with its plans to bulk up on international business, Paris-based President Films has named Hugo Bergson-Vuillaume to the newly created post of deputy managing director. Bergson-Vuillaume, who will join the company in February, is currently president of international distribution at Gallic major Gaumont.

Bergson-Vuillaume will work side by side with President’s chairman and industry vet Jacques-Eric Strauss.

Strauss, who has made no secret of his desire to spend more time producing, told Daily Variety, “I’m not leaving now, but this move is so that when I do the company will be able to continue with someone who can take charge. I plan to teach him everything I know and leave him a lot of liberty.”

House that Strauss built

President Films, the house that Strauss built, was one of the last independents on the Paris sales scene until 1998 when 50% of the company was bought out by France Television Distribution (FTD), the sales arm of Gallic pubcaster France Television.

The move was symbolic of FTD’s desire to strengthen the pubcaster’s international film sales activity. Strauss maintains the other 50% of the company but upon his departure, President will be fully integrated into FTD.

FTD chairman Marc Bonduel explains his company was looking for someone to help foster the international activities of FTD’s three main film axis: arthouse sales outfit Artbox, the President catalog and President Films. President recently handled the mega-budget “Asterix and Obelix vs. Cesar.”

Bergson-Vuillaume comes to President after just over two years at Gaumont where he was involved in the deal which saw Sony take worldwide distribution rights on Luc Besson’s “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” as well as having overseen sales on France’s biggest local pic of 1998, “The Dinner Game,” and this year’s sleeper Pip Karmel’s “Me, Myself, I.”

“I wanted to go to a somewhat independent company where I could really help to run things. I’ll try to maintain the success that Strauss has had while aggressively pursuing international co-producing partnerships,” Bergson-Vuillaume said.

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