Wild Bunch Distribution chief steps down

PARIS — Jean Philippe Tirel, the driving force behind France’s Wild Bunch Distribution, is ankling the company to launch his own acquisition vehicle, Selective Films, which is set to bow at Cannes.

Financed with private investment funds, Selective Films will acquire distribution rights to up to four foreign films per year with an emphasis on upscale American indie films.

Tirel, who is well-connected with top international sales agents, said he was closing a deal with a major French distributor that will release his pickups in France.

“On top of dealing and acquiring the films, I will assist the distributor throughout the complete process — from the marketing strategy to the programming,” Tirel said.

“The past eight years have offered me a wonderful professional experience and I’m now stepping with enthusiasm into this new film adventure.”

Tirel, who has been working at Wild Bunch for eight years, started out at Pan-Europeenne — whose distribution activities were handled by Wild Bunch — in 2004.

In 2008, when Wild Bunch launched Wild Bunch Distribution, Tirel was tapped managing director, and ran the show with more staff and a larger lineup, including some Wild Bunch and Pan-Europeenne titles, as well as third-party pickups.

With his marketing savvy, and his strong taste for American auteurs, genre films and crossover arthouse fare, Tirel has established a solid track record during his run at WBD and is known for being resourceful and inventive. Under his watch, WBD ranked in the top 10 French distribution companies. His most successful distribution campaigns are Laurent Tirard’s “Little Nicolas,” Gaul’s top French-language grosser of 2009, “The King’s Speech,” “Paranormal Activity” and Valerie Donzelli’s “Declaration of War.”

Tirel will remain at Wild Bunch until April.

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