TV France Intl.'s Rendez-Vous kicks off

BIARRITZ — Gaul’s France Televisions Distribution has closed major sales on “Hotel Paradis: A House of Ill Repute,” Canal Plus’ upscale costume drama series helmed by Mabrouk El Mechri (“The Cold Light of Day”).

Skein’s first season was picked up by Japanese pay TV company Cinefil Imagica, Latin American distributor Pramer and Brazilian network Globosat.

Deals were unveiled at TV France Intl.’s three-day Rendez-Vous showcase, which kicked off Monday in Biarritz attended by 64 French sales companies and 231 international buyers.

Set in 1871 Paris, “Paradis” follows three women working at a luxury brothel, who try to free themselves from prostitution.

U.K. distrib Arrow Films acquired the show from FTD and sold it to Sky Arts, making “Paradis” one of the rare French drama series to be bought by a Brit net.

Christophe Pecot, international sales manager at FTD, said premium shows like “Paradis” have been attracting full-service distributors, especially in territories that are traditionally closed off to French fiction or a tough sell at least.

Instead of a one-time fee, the sales company receives a minimum guarantee and royalties from the distributor. While these deals are not as financially attractive as a straight sale to a broadcaster, they allow distribs to close a TV deal and exploit the VOD and DVD rights. Arrow Films, for instance, released “Paradis” under its French title “Maison Close” in DVD and Blu-Ray on Sept. 3.

One of Canal Plus’ most-watched French-language series, the second series of “Maison Close” is now in production.

Meanwhile, negotiations for the U.S. remake rights to “Paradis” are being concluded with a high-profile U.S. paybox, according to the show’s producer, Jacques Ouaniche at Noe Prods Intl.

Another buzzed-about French title on FTD’s Biarritz slate is Sylvain Archambault’s two-parter “Red Brazil,” set in the 16th century. Based on Jean-Christophe Rufin’s bestseller, it toplines Stellan Skarsgard and Joaquim de Almeida. Produced by Pampa Prods., “Brazil” will air on Gallic pubcaster channel France 2 by year-end.

The three-day Rendez-Vous mart, organized by Mathieu Bejot, managing director of promotional org TVFI, will spotlight international sales hit “Dans tes yeux,” a travel docu series hosted by a blind journo commissioned by Franco-German net Arte and repped by Upside Television. It will also present the premiere of the series “Transporter,” a smallscreen adaptation of the Luc Besson-produced film franchise. The EuropaCorp TV production is repped by Lagardere’s Europe Image Intl.

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