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Venice: France’s BAC Films Grows With Renewed Production Focus (EXCLUSIVE)

France’s BAC Films is renewing its production focus, upping French distrib buys and dramatically increasing film investment under owner-CEO David Grumbach.

The company is at the fest for Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s “The President,” which it co-produced and which opened Venice Horizons Wednesday. BAC is also selling the pic and will distribute in France. That level of involvement in a production looks increasingly to be the norm as BAC Films drives to “create (itself as) a boutique major or mini-major involved in all stages of movies’ life-cycle: Development, financing, production, local and international distribution,” Grumbach said just before Venice.

With BAC Films Distribution’s Mathieu Robinet running all aspects of its French operation, BAC is bringing in staffers and offering one-stop film financing. As many French companies are downscaling, BAC is building, emerging as an ever-more active player on the international film scene.

BAC Films used to acquire four to six films a year; it’s now risen to around a dozen movie titles. Investment has increased five-fold, Grumbach said.

BAC’s new tastes are highly eclectic. “As a cinemagoer, I need to see all different kinds of films. Since I bought out BAC, I am expanding the boundaries of choice and projects the company gets involved in,” Grumbach said.

Of new movies, BAC Films will co-produce, sell and distribute “Funan,” Denis Do’s upcoming Khmer Rouge-set animated feature. It will distribute in France and sell both Raul Garcia’s Edgar Allan Poe toon-feature anthology “Extraordinary Tales,” and “Fusi,” a late bloomer’s romance tale from Iceland’s Dagur Kari, produced by Baltasar Kormakur’s Blueeyes Production.

Other BAC France distrib titles include Saverio Costanzo’s Venice competition player “Hungry Hearts,” and two talked-about Sundance players: Gregg Araki’s “White Bird,” which BAC bows in France on Oct. 15; and Maya Forbes’ “Infinitely Polar Bear,” a Sony Pictures Classics domestic pickup, which BAC opens in early 2015.

Aiding the restructuring, BAC exec Alexis Hofmann, who’s been with the shingle for 12 years, now oversees acquisitions; Philippe Lux, previously at Le Pacte and Wild Side, will head up domestic distribution in September; Marine Dabezies, previously at VOD platform Canal Play, is developing online release and marketing strategies.

“One of our main assets is our young age. Even though we will of course work with established directors, we really want to develop long-term relationships with emerging directors, producers and talents. We do believe that cinema is an affair of generations,” Robinet said.

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