Mentre links Euro, U.S. fare

Firm exchanges pics across Atlantic

Former Miramax acquisitions chief Agnes Mentre is starting a company to bring European films Stateside and U.S. projects to European companies.

Gotham-based Tazora Films will have a particular focus on repping remake rights for French and other European pics to U.S. production companies and distribs.

“It’s not that studios aren’t buying remakes, but they buy an option and the movie ends up as No. 200 on the list of projects the studio is going to make,” Mentre said.

She hopes to avoid that pitfall, she said, by trying to attach a director or star before a studio comes aboard.

Exec believes her background as a French native with professional roots in Hollywood will help her bridge the cultural gap between the two sides of the Atlantic.

Mentre has signed on to rep remake rights for Patrice Leconte’s Toronto buzz pic “My Best Friend.”

Tazora also will look for American projects that European companies can finance as well as acquire for overseas distribution.

Mentre has a first-look deal with French shingle Wild Bunch for all U.S. projects she finds; she’s already brokered a deal in which shingle picked up distribution rights to controversial mockumentary “Death of a President” in a number of international territories.

As foreign films remain a tough sell in the U.S., remakes offer overseas distributors the prospect of a different kind of chance at U.S. exposure.

Two fall releases, Tony Goldwyn’s “The Last Kiss” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” are remakes of recent foreign films.

For Mentre, move is the next step after a career at Miramax. Some of Miramax’s biggest acquisitions happened during Mentre’s tenure, including “In the Bedroom” and “Life Is Beautiful,” both of which required intense negotiations. Mentre exec produced “Life,” as well as “Heaven” and “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

She ankled the company at Cannes this year.

Mentre has a history with more boutique foreign films as well, heading an acquisitions team that picked up Canadian Oscar winner “The Barbarian Invasions” and Italian-language pic “The Son’s Room.”

Mentre’s former co-head of acquisitions at Miramax, Andrew Herwitz, took a not-dissimilar path when he left the company in 2002, founding the Film Sales Co, which among other things links foreign execs with domestic distribs.

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