Exec, corporate shifts shake distribution sector
PARIS — Confusing at the best of times, the protean French distribution scene is likely to cause even seasoned American Film Market goers to scratch their heads this year.Since time immemorial, the name Jean Labadie has been associated with Bac, but not anymore. In a move that sent shock waves through the French biz, Labadie, still a shareholder in Bac, was evicted by his company’s majority shareholder Millimages last month. Other upheavals include the new independence of Mars Distribution, formerly StudioCanal’s theatrical arm, which has gone solo with its long-standing topper Stephane Celerier at the helm. Celerier was ousted from StudioCanal at the beginning of this year in a particularly ill-timed move on the company’s part — he had just been named France’s distributor of the year for delivering StudioCanal one of its best theatrical years on record. Initially, Celerier will handle the release of a number of titles that were already on the outfit’s lineup at StudioCanal, such as Cedric Klapisch’s “Paris” and Emir Kusturica’s “Promise Me This.” Other Gallic shake-ups include:
- Gaumont’s separation from Sony-Columbia. Francois Clerc, the joint venture’s former marketing topper, took over as the Gallic company’s distribution topper July 1.
- The arrival of Olivier Snanoudj, former director of the French exhibitor’s org FNCF, as deputy managing director of Warner France, in charge of theatrical distribution.
- Warner Bros. France’s former marketing topper Philippe Desandre’s appointment as head of StudioCanal Distribution.