Rousselet, Gianfermi start up film company

Producer Philippe Rousselet (“Lord of War”) has launched Vendome Pictures as a development, production and financing banner with plans to produce at least a dozen features in the next five years.

Vendome’s aiming at internationally driven projects in multiple genres with budgets ranging from $10 million to $40 million. The company’s backed by a $115 million revolving credit facility through banks led by CIT and RBS Greenwich Capital, a mezzanine facility funded by Newbridge Film Capital and a group of private equity investors including Rousselet and Endemol France co-founder Arthur Essebag.

Deal required nearly two years to complete, according to Rousselet, who told Daily Variety that the turbulence in the credit markets in recent months forced a restructuring of the private equity portion of the deal. “Our ability to attract investors at a time like this reflects the belief that this business is recession-proof and that people always want to go to the movies,” he added.

Vendome’s planning to go into production on its first project during the first trimester of 2009.

Summit Intl. will oversee the sale of Vendome’s films to all territories except the U.K, where StudioCanal’s Optimum Releasing will handle the pics. Vendome will primarily use Summit Entertainment to distribute its films in the U.S.

Rousselet is president and CEO, while veteran exec Fabrice Gianfermi will be co-CEO. Vendome’s also tapped Kathleen Amundson as chief financial officer and Jeb Brody as prexy of production.

Rousselet broke into the business as an exec at Warner Bros., where he oversaw production of “Under Siege,” “Grumpy Old Men” and “Falling Down.” In 1994, he set up French indie producer Les Films de la Suane, where he’s developed and produced more than 16 features including “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,” “Dad” and “The Do-Gooders.”

In 2004, with director Andrew Niccol, Rousselet co-founded Entertainment Manufacturing, through which he produced “Lord of War.” He’s been partnered with Gianfermi for the last six years.

Brody helped launch Big Beach, and his credits include “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Sherrybaby” and “Sunshine Cleaning.”

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