David Grumbach

BAC set to move into production and financing

Partnered by a French and European consortium, French producer and financier David Grumbach has bought France’s BAC Films Distribution, one of the country’s best-known distribution and independent sales houses.

Under the terms of the deal, the BAC Majestic Group will cede the BAC brands and exclusive rights to sell the BAC back-catalogue – without Grumbach’s purchasing all rights to the BAC library itself.

The deal see Grumbach twinning his production and financing expertise as the producer of multi-part movie co-productions with European partners with BAC Films distribution and sales operations.

Under Grumbach, a revamped BAC will move into the production of international projects at an early stage of development. BAC Films will serve on these productions as their producer or co-producer and financier, as well as distribution in France and selling internationally.

BAC aims to become “a full service European mini major capable of intervening in the entire process of a film’s creation,” a press statement said Monday.

Grumbach will become CEO of BAC, co-owner Eric Chinchon, a business restructuring and financing specialist, the new CFO. Mathieu Robinet will continue as BAC managing director: BAC’s current distribution and sales team will remain in place, BAC announced Monday.

A producer, co-producer or associate producer of at least 12 features since 2011, Grumbach’s credits include of late

Frederic Jardin’s “Sleepless Night,” which Warner Bros. picked up for a remake, Ari Folman’s “The Congress,” with Harvey Keitel and Robin Wright, and Sylvie Testud’s Juliette Binoche-starrer, “Another Woman’s Life,” all produced by Grumbach as the head of  international productions at Paul Thiltges Distributions in Luxembourg.

In late 2011, Grumbach created Juliette Films in Luxembourg, a producer on Delphine Lehericey’s “Puppy Love” which world preemed at San Sebastian.

Recently launching Jaya Productions in France, Grumbach also partners with Belgium’s Frakas Productions, producers of Mohamed Hamidi’s Wild Bunch-sold immigration dramedy “Homeland, co-starring Jamel Debbouze.

These moves create production bases in three territories that are rich in tax-break finance and well-oiled co-production partners. This base will forseeably allow Grumbach to tap into an important network of potential co-production companies in order to power up the scale and ambition of Bac Films up-and-coming productions.

Under Robinet and sales head Gilles Sousa, Bac Films has already moved into ever-bigger international projects. Just before last year’s AFM, for instance, it acquired international sales rights to Pablo Fendrik’s “The Ardor,” with Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga (“Elysium”), an Amazon-set Western financed by Participant PanAmerica, lead-produced by Argentina’s Magma Cine and co-produced by Mexico’s Canana, a Participant PanAmerica partner, Brazil’s Bananeira Filmes and France’s Manny Films.

Grumbach also produced for five years online multimedia programs in Paris. It is believed he will try to bring this digital expertise to the table to aid the sales and distribution of BAC films.

The Grumbach buy marks the latest turn in BAC Films’ involved history. Founded by Jean Labadie and Stephane Sorlat in 1986, BAC went on, with backing from Vivendi, to become Miramax’s distributor for France and a leading, sometimes top, indie distributor of art films, crossover pics and upscale mainstream releases.

It has distributed over 500 films in France, including eight Cannes Palme d’Or winners, such as “Barton Fink.”

In 2000, BAC became a publically-listed company, Bac Majestic, with Millimages buying a majority stake three years later. Labadie was forced out in 2007 in an acrimonious dispute, with Roch Lerner heading up company.

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