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Wild Bunch plots ‘Burma Conspiracy’

'Largo Winch' character returns in new adventure

PARIS — Gallic mini-major Wild Bunch will co-finance “The Burma Conspiracy,” written and directed by Jerome Salle (“Largo Winch,” “Anthony Zimmer”).

Mostly English-speaking, the international-canvas actioner will be produced by Nathalie Gastaldo and Philippe Godeau for France’s Pan-Europeenne and by Wild Bunch Germany. Wild Bunch will take French distribution and international sales.

Alexandre Desplat (“A Prophet,” “Syriana”) will score.

German-born Tomer Sisley reprises his role from Salle’s “Largo Winch” as the heir to a billionaire mogul, this time embroiled in a plot, master-minded by Burmese General Kyaw Min, to be convicted of crimes against humanity. Currently casting, “Conspiracy” will shoot around summer.

Budgeted by Wild Bunch at above $30 million, “Conspiracy” looks like one of the highest-tab new projects being brought on to the market at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.

The RDV opens Wednesday evening with a Gala screening of “Oceans,” Pathe’s big-budget deep ocean docu from Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud.

A total 73 French films, including 40 market preems, will screen at the RDV.

“The Counsel,” “Bus Palladium” and “In Their Sleep” figure among newly announced titles.

A contempo legal thriller, toplining Benoit Magimel (“Crime Insiders”), the SND-sold “Counsel” is helmed by writer-director Cedric Anger who made a mini-splash with his debut “The Killer.”

The debut of Christopher Thompson, son and co-scribe of Daniele Thompson (“Orchestra Seats”), “Palladium” is a fictional ’80s rock group saga.

“Christopher Thompson shares his mother’s warmth, but ‘Palladium’ is a very different style, like a U.S indie movie,” said sales agent Olivier Albou at Other Angle Pics.

Handled abroad by TF1 Intl., “In Their Sleep” is a new French horror film starring Anne Parillaud (“Nikita”).

The RDV will see a lot of new films, whether projects or world preems: from StudioCanal, novelist Marc Dugain’s directorial debut “An Ordinary Execution,” with Andre Dussollier and Marina Hands, about a dying Stalin and his nurse; Wild Bunch’s Vahina Giocante starrer “La Blonde aux seins nus,” from Manuel Pradal (“Marie Baie des Anges”), about an Orsay Museum painting heist; and Gaumont’s undercover cop thriller “Sphinx,” with Cecile de France. Les Films du Losange will unveil Nicolas Philibert’s docu “Nenette,” produced by Les Films d’Ici.

Some new pics screening at the Rendez-Vous, which runs through to Jan.18, are heavyweight rookies: the $17 million costume drama “L’autre Dumas,” with Gerard Depardieu and Benoit Poelvoorde, has been tabbed by producer UGC at $17 million. “Oceans” cost $71.5 million, said Pathe.

But most new French film projects unveiled at the RDV are more modestly budgeted, director-driven movies that can recoup much of their investment in France and demand far lower minimum guarantees from sales agents and foreign distributors.

One of Europe’s most ambitious companies, Wild Bunch has not backed many big-budget French movies.

Beyond “Conspiracy,” Wild Bunch has taken international on another substantial proposition, “The Clink of Ice,” a dark comedy from Academy Award winner Bertrand Blier (“Get Out Your Handkerchiefs”), toplining Jean Dujardin (“OSS 177”) as an alcoholic writer who receives a visit from the incarnation of his cancer, limned by Gallic comedian Albert Dupontel (“Louise-Michel”).

Other new Wild Bunch titles are more modestly budgeted, mostly at $6 million or below. They include Maghreb-set “Of Gods and Men,” about Cistercian monks who stand up for their beliefs when confronted by fundamentalists. “Gods” stars Lambert Wilson (“Matrix”) and is helmed by Xavier Beauvois, (“Don’t Forget You’re Going To Die”).

Wild Bunch will also handle international on another Why Not Prods. co-production, swinger couples and mid-life crisis drama “Happy Few,” with Elodie Bouchez (“The Dream Life of Angels”), plus Audrey Estrougo’s “Leila,” a musical and across-the-tracks romancer between a wealthy family slacker and Arab law student.

“The market’s looking for audience pleasers, happy movies,” said Wild Bunch’s Gael Nouaille.

Some French sales agents have seen the green shoots of an economic recovery in the international market.

But most new Gallic projects look set to adapt to tougher times when TV stations over much of the world are downsizing film acquisition budgets and distributors are seeing less revenues per film, Nouaille said on a panel at a France-Spain co-production market in Paris Tuesday. That means more market-attuning.

“It’s not the financial sources that should adapt to the producers, it is the producers who should adapt to the financial sources,” Nouaille said.

Elsa Keslassy and Jordan Mintzer contributed to this report.

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