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Warner Bros. Subsid Losing Ruling on Status of Pic

2003 Productions "profoundly disappointed."

A Paris court has ruled that Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “A Very Long Engagement” is really a Hollywood movie, and therefore not sufficiently French to qualify for public subsidies.

The pic’s producer 2003 Prods, which is headed by Warner France topper Francis Boespflug and controlled by Warner France employees, immediately condemned the judgement, and called for an appeal.

The administrative court found in favor of the Syndicate of Independent Producers and the Association of Independent Producers, which brought the suit against state funding agency the CNC, claiming that 2003 is just a Trojan horse for Warner to gain access to French state funding. The CNC had previously approved the application for “A Very Long Engagement” to receive public coin.

Boespflug hotly denied the allegation that his company was merely acting as a cover for Warner. “This film, which tells a French story, adapted from a French novel, filmed entirely in France, in French, with the participation of more than 2,000 French people, over thirty French actors and actresses and about 500 French technicians for 18 months, is suddenly no longer considered a French film!”, the 2003 topper said in a press release Friday morning.

The ruling will also bar the $56.6 million pic from competing in the Cesar awards – Gaul’s equivalent of the Oscars – except as a foreign film, and totally excludes its thesps from being nominated.

Pic has also been nominated for the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc for best French film, but it is unclear whether the ruling will affect the nomination.

Boespflug called for the CNC to appeal the decision. The state film funding org gave 2003 Prods. the greenlight a year ago to tap into Gallic film subsidies, to the outrage of some of France’s bigger film players.

“2003 is profoundly disappointed with yesterday’s decision by the Administrative Court of Paris. We hope that the CNC will appeal this decision.” The CNC issued a statement saying that they were “attentively studying the ruling and its consequences.”

“A Very long Engagement” has grossed over $23.8 million since it bowed in Gaul three weeks ago. If the pic were judged to be French, 2003 would be eligible to claim a share of that box office for reinvestment in future French productions.

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