Studio Canal managing director Brahim Chioua and Wild Bunch topper Vincent Maraval have ankled to form their own company.
New entity, cheekily named “Exception” in honor of former Viv U chief Jean-Marie Messier’s notorious “cultural exception” faux-pas, will be up and running by the start of Mifed, Chioua tells Variety.
Departure of long-serving senior exec Chioua, one-time boss of Studio Canal, and Maraval, who takes the entire Wild Bunch sales team with him, fuels speculation about Studio Canal’s fate as parent Vivendi U sets about slashing debt and finding a new direction.
Studio Canal offered no comment on Chioua’s departure, but Viv U management has said it will reunite Studio Canal with other French media assets in a single, publicly traded company.
It is understood that the company now will focus on film production via its three inhouse producers: Alain Sarde (“Crimson Rivers”), Alain Goldman, (whose company was bought by Studio Canal last year) and Richard Grandpierre (“Brotherhood of the Wolf”).
At their new company, Chioua as managing director will take care of finance and business development while Maraval takes responsibility for artistic choices and international sales.
Also onboard are former Wild Bunch sales execs Carole Baraton and Gaelle Noailles and London-based Alain de la Matta, whose company Blue Light was involved with Wild Bunch artistically and technically, and administrative staff making up a team of nine.
From small beginnings three years ago, Wild Bunch grew to become one of France’s more dynamic sales and acquisitions companies, handling a plethora of successful French and international arthouse titles, including Nanni Moretti’s Palme d’Or-winning “The Son’s Room” and “Kandahar.”