Backup packages Bona’s ‘Lady’

Film financier moves into exclusive partnerships

Backup Films, the expanding financial-packaging division of Paris-based Backup Media Group, is negotiating an addition to its burgeoning roster of French-Chinese co-productions: “The Lady in the Portrait,” starring Fan Bingbing (“Shaolin”).

Shooting this fall, “Lady” -is a fish-out-of-water Chinese-language period drama that chronicles the empress of China’s love for a French painter.

It comes as Backup Films amps up deals in France with Gregory Bernard’s Realitism Films, producer of Quentin Dupieux’s pics, and LGM, which produced Olivier Marchal’s “A Gang Story,” Fred Cavaye’s “Point Blank” plus B.O. hits “Hollywoo” and “My Way.”

Backup Films aims to develop its film financing packaging model in the U.K. and beyond — with Asia, Australia and Latin America as priorities, Backup Films CEO Jean-Baptiste Babin said Friday at Cannes.

Packaged by Backup, “Lady” is budgeted at €6 million ($7.8 million), which goes a long way in China.

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“Lady” is produced by Beijing’s News Corp.-backed Bona Film Group and producer-director Charles de Meaux’s Paris-based Anna Sanders Films. It’s directed by de Meaux (“Stretch”) and written by de Meaux and Michel Fessler (“Ridicule,” “March of the Penguins”).

To make “Lady,” Bona is reconstructing China’s Forbidden City and Summer Palace at 90% scale, Babin said.

Backup Films has formalized an exclusive film-finance packaging relationship with Realitism, producer of January’s Sundance player “Wrong” and upcoming omnibus “Wrong Cops,” sold by Kinology.

Omnibus “will be financed by traditional French film finance and equity from in or outside France,” Balbin said.

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