Exec rides 'Horses,' eyes library

France’s Le Pacte founder Jean Labadie is leveraging his long relationships in the biz to build his 3-year-old company into a major force.

Launched December 2008, after Labadie was ousted from Bac Films, Le Pacte is already a major upscale Paris-based production, distribution and export force.

Long-term talent relations include Jim Jarmusch, Italy’s Nanni Moretti, France’s Christophe Honore and Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas.

In Berlin, Le Pacte is co-producing and selling “Of Women and Horses” a horse-training drama by Patricia Mazuy, with whom Labadie has worked before.

But Labadie’s looking for other ways to grow Le Pacte.

One is to build its library, he said. Le Pacte has bought 37 films from Gallic production house Lazennec. The library boasts 100 titles, about 60% French, nearly all European. Labadie aims to raise this number to 200-250 titles max, searching for movies inside and outside France.

“We’re looking for more titles. It’s not very easy but is easier to bank-finance a library than any other job we do,” Labadie said at Berlin.

Selling library titles deepens relations with possible buyers of new titles that are too small or difficult to command a theatrical release, he added.

Le Pacte releases 15 films a year in France, co-producing two or three and exporting nearly half of them.

Labadie co-founded Bac Films with Stephane Sorlat and Eric Heumann as a pure distributor in 1986.

“Distribution has changed drastically in the last 35 years,” Labadie said. “Just being a distributor is now impossible.”

Le Pacte’s biggest growth driver, however, will remain new films, with projects from Reygadas and Matteo Garrone possibly coming down the pipeline.

Le Pacte will look to move into slightly bigger-budget films, Labadie said. But it will always attempt to bring on fresh blood. Le Pacte’s second international sales acquisition for Berlin is “Land of Oblivion,” the fiction feature debut of Michale Boganim, about the human consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

Some things don’t change, however: “We’re director-driven. (It’s) about people who make great films.”

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