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Canal Plus vet is back

Fullenbach to head cinema department

PARIS — After a year away from the Canal Plus Group, acquisitions exec Evi Fullenbach is back in the driver’s seat as head of the paybox’s reorganized cinema department.

In an appointment due to be made official today, Fullenbach will replace Didier Lupfer in charge of overall cinema policy and movie acquisitions for the group’s premium and thematic channels.

Former M6 exec Nathalie Drouaire, hired last year to replace Fullenbach, will be responsible for U.S. independent movie and series acquisitions. Nathalie Bloch-Laine, one of the few Canal Plus veterans still in place, will continue to handle French film acquisitions.

For many years, Fullenbach played a pivotal role as Canal Plus’ main link with the Hollywood majors.

But in the wake of massive upheavals as the paybox struggled to emerge from a $6 billion debt pile, Fullenbach ankled in March 2004. She became adviser to Tarak Ben Ammar’s Paris-based media group Quinta Communications and a consultant to commercial web TF1.

Her return to head up Canal Plus’ cinema department is another turning point at the paybox, which recently renewed deals with Universal, Fox and DreamWorks.

While there have been management shakeups aplenty in the past couple of years, insiders say the reorganization of cinema activities was overdue because of the confusing way that responsibility had been spread across execs.

The changes still under way include bringing Canal Plus’ formerly autonomous film production and distribution subsid StudioCanal closer into the fold.

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