Gallic pix get leg up

Cochman handed Unifrance promo gig

A correction was made to thisa article at 6:49 p.m.

As StudioCanal’s long-serving deputy head of international sales, John Kochman has done much to enhance the exposure of French pics in the U.S.

He’ll be doing even more when he becomes head of Unifrance’s New York bureau in April.

Move isn’t official yet, but Gallic sources said the European Film Market during the Berlin Film Festival, which begins Feb. 9, will be Kochman’s last. He will then cross the Atlantic to replace Unifrance topper Catherine Verret, who leaves after many years in the job.

Gotham post is key to Unifrance, covering the whole U.S. and involved in events ranging from New York’s Rendezvous With French Cinema Today (coming in March) and L.A.’s City of Angels, City of Light fest for Gallic pics (set for April) to lesser French cinema love-ins across the country.

As any Stateside fest programmer will testify, if you want a French movie in your lineup, nothing happens without Unifrance’s say-so.

Ticket sales, not fest screenings, are the ultimate goal, and Kochman takes up his new job at a time when French films are on a roll internationally.

In 2005 Gallic releases garnered more admissions abroad than in France, with hit doc “The March of the Penguins” helping to push U.S. box office takings up to a high of $150 million.

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