Capture the zombie

Shingle takes genre pics beyond Gaul

Part of a new crop of Gallic filmmakers who don’t have the French New Wave as a point of reference, Benjamin Rocher, Raphael Rocher and Yannick Dahan, the founders of French outfit Capture the Flag, aren’t afraid to tackle genre fare — even if that means being dismissed by most of the French film industry.

Dubbed the first Gallic zombie film, “The Horde,” was a risky bet for debuting helmers Raphael Rocher and Dahan, who previously had worked on only docus via their TV production shingle Empreinte Digitale.

“We struggled to finance it in France because local film institutions like the CNC don’t consider genre films as an art form and most people think we can only make pale copies of what’s being done in the U.S.,” says Rocher, whose tastes range widely from James Cameron to George A. Romero and Jean-Pierre Melville.

Even local auds have been slow to embrace the home-grown genre film trend. The flurry of French horror films released in the past two years — including Pascal Laugier’s “Martyrs” and Belgian writer-helmer Fabrice du Welz’s “Vinyan” — have failed to electrify the B.O.

But on the international level, Gallic suspensers in the vein of “The Horde” have proved far more attractive.

Per Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, founder of Films Distribution, a leading purveyor of Gallic scare fare, which sold “The Horde” in more than 30 territories, “French genre films travel well when they’re director-driven, visually compelling and professionally assembled on a tight budget.”

Apart from Films Distribution, the filmmakers have at least two other strong allies: Jean Labadie, whose outfit Le Pacte handled French distribution on “The Horde,” and Manuel Alduy, the head of Canal Plus’ film division, which pre-bought the film and still considers it one of its best acquisitions.

“At Canal Plus, we make room and encourage these directors who venture off the beaten paths,” Alduy says.

But the difficulties they experienced on “The Horde” drew the Capture the Flag team to produce the shingle’s second feature, Olivier Abbou’s horror film “Territories” in English, in order to tap into international financing sources.

Repped by Gallic minimajor SND, “Territories” is a French-Canadian co-production. And it shares with “The Horde” a political undercurrent that Capture the Flag likes to cultivate. While “The Horde” subtly tackles race relations and police corruption in Paris’ under-privileged suburbs, “Territories” is set in a creepy prison camp reminiscent of Guantanamo Bay, where two American soldiers torture their prisoners.

The French outfit is developing a humor-laced zombie pic, “Goal of the Dead,” a $4.4 million two-part feature being scripted by Nicolas Peufaillit, who co-wrote Jacques Audiard’s drama “A Prophet.” Pic focuses on a major French soccer team playing in a small town when a violent disease starts spreading, turning the village locals into zombies.

The shingle also has more mainstream projects on its production slate: Eric Valette — who’s directing “Prey,” a serial killer suspenser for StudioCanal — will helm “The Snake With a Thousand Cuts,” based on a novel penned by up-and-coming Gallic author DOA. And the outfit is developing “GIGN,” an action-adventure following French soldiers who toughen up in a basic-training camp to prepare for their first mission in the special forces. Pic is co-produced by Paris-based Radar Films.

More Scene

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content