Canadian distributor files for bankruptcy

MONTREAL — Canuck film distributor Christal Films Distribution obtained bankruptcy protection from the Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday, giving it 30 days to restructure its affairs.

The Montreal-based distrib has faced severe financial difficulties in recent months and had been seeking a partner to provide new capital.

Christal ran into difficulty when Toronto’s Maple Pictures, which has Canuck rights to all Lionsgate pics, ended its Quebec distribution agreement with Christal and took it to rival distrib Seville Pictures.

The court-appointed monitor for the proceedings will be Raymond Chabot Inc., which will help provide a plan to deal with creditors and other stakeholders.

The company blamed the move on the challenges facing the film distribution biz right now.

“Domestic and international markets are affected by the many changes within the film industry,” said Bertrand Langlois, VP of finance at Christal Films. “Due to these circumstances, profit margins are becoming more limited.”

Christal Films will continue to operate during the proceedings. The legal proceedings do not affect Christal Films Prods., which is run by Christal topper Christian Larouche.

In recent months, Christal pink-slipped 14 staffers and gave up rights to “My Blueberry Nights” and “Paris.”

The company is one of Canada’s leading distribs and is particularly strong in the French-Canadian marketplace, repping some of Quebec’s local hits of the past decade, including the “Boys” trilogy of hockey comedies, 2007’s top Canuck grosser “3 Little Pigs” and arthouse hit “Congorama.”

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