Canal Royale

'People' made pretty at pic party

StudioCanal offered guests at its “People: The Party” bash makeovers by professional hair and make-up artists at a beauty salon set up next to the dance floor. Guests at Saturday’s bash included Virginie Ledoyen, Ornella Muti and “People” helmer Fabien Onteniente.

But parent company Canal Plus’ increased visibility at Cannes this year, via parties and the return of a daily TV show broadcast live from the beach for the first time since 2001, is not merely cosmetic.

In recent years, the paybox hasn’t had a lot to shout about as it tackled huge debts and subscriber falloff — and its ties with Cannes and the film biz in general came to be seen as burdensome.

But having restructured and turned the corner financially — it posted an operating profit in 2003 for the first time in seven years — the paybox is cozying up to the film industry once again.

StudioCanal recently announced it will spend E100 million ($118 million) on co-production and acquisitions this year. And on Sunday the paybox officially signed a crucial new five-year pact with the French film biz covering pay TV deals.

The signing in the Palais des Festivals’ Cafe des Palmes took place in the presence of French Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon and Gallic filmmakers and industryites including Claude Lelouch.