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International film sales vet exits biz

Seidel segues to post as cultural attache

Massimo Saidel is stepping down as international sales partner at Madrid-based Spanish sales consortium Latido to assume a new role as cultural attache for media at the French Embassy in Rome.

Miren Zamora has been upped to head of international sales.

Saidel will remain a shareholder in Latido.

Though the attache role is a plum appointment, Saidel said Wednesday at the Martin Gropius Bau that the prime reason for his relocation was personal: to spend far more time with his mother.

Saidel leaves Latido on a high note, having virtually sold out on Argentine Oscar nominee and Tornasol production “The Secret in Their Eyes.”

Begun with the U.K.’s Momentum at Toronto, then Pretty Pictures for France, “Secret” licensing deals included a U.S. Sony Pictures Classics pickup.

Saidel’s cultural attache posting will allow him “to give something back to France,” he said.

Saidel was head of sales at TF1’s budding international sales division and, from 1998, head of European acquisitions and co-productions. He was instrumental in helping to build TF1 Intl. at a time when French sales companies began to replace British shingles as the largest in Europe.

He is especially proud, he said, of having brought “Ma vie en rose” to TF1 Intl. based on 13 minutes of rushes.

Having found a niche in acquisitions, most execs would not cross over to sales. But Saidel, who helped launch Latido in 2003, has never seemed happier than in the trenches, selling films — “Machuca,” “The Method” — that he loved.

His long film expertise — he cut his teeth at New York’s Triumph, the speciality distribution arm of Gaumont-Columbia, working from 1984 as assistant to Marcie Bloom — will come in useful in Rome. His new job centers around film, though it includes music, dance, written media and TV.

At Latido, Saidel said, “We were never about money, but culture and discoveries.”

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