French investor provides funding for pics
SEVILLE, Spain — France’s Backup Films has invested in “Cafe de Flore,” from Jean-Marc Vallee (“C.R.A.Z.Y.”), and “By Force,” starring Isabelle Adjani and Eric Cantona.Sold internationally by Films Distribution and distributed in France by UGC/TF1, “Flore” toplines Vanessa Paradis in what Vallee calls an “epic love film.” It is set in contempo Montreal and 1960s Paris, where it is shooting. Written by Vallee, “Flore” is produced by Canada’s Item 7 with France’s Monkey Pack Films. Orange-owned Studio 37 has acquired worldwide rights to hard-boiled thriller “By Force,” the directorial debut of ex-con Frank Henry, co-scribe of Canal Plus France’s hit TV series “Braquo.” Gregoire Melin’s Kinology will handle international sales on “By Force.” Cantona plays a con sprung from jail against his will by a police superintendant, limned by Adjani, who forces him to infiltrate a criminal gang. Also shooting, “Force” is one of the first two productions from France’s Marilyn Prods., headed by former Gaumont manager Franck Chorot. It is co-produced by Studio 37, Luxembourg’s Iris Prods. and Belgium’s Iris Films, both managed by Nicolas Steil. Managing film investment funds worth some €33.6 million ($46 million), Backup is both a financial broker and fund operator, Backup co-production head Pascal Guerrin said at the Seville European Film Festival. It manages two French tax-break vehicles, Coficup, which gap-finances French-nationality films mainly against a first-position corridor on international sales, and Cofanim, which invests in animated projects, both features and TV series. Backup gap-financed “Flore” and “Force.” On “Force,” Backup wore both its broker and fund manager hats, setting up the Luxembourg and Belgium co-production as well as gap-financing. Of other recent investments, the French financier put up gap funding on Arte-backed France-Lebanon co-production “Hotel Rooms,” toplining Charles Berling and written-directed by Danielle Arbid. A modern love story set in Beirut with a thriller background, “Rooms” is co-produced by Les Films Pelleas and Maia Cinema. Backup also brought in Swedish regional funding via Film i Vast. Film financing, which has suffered a massive drop in private equity investment Stateside and high-profile bank exits in Europe, allows new growth possibilities for Backup. “We are currently working on new funding structures and vehicles in France and outside France,” Guerrin said.