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Besson’s EuropaCorp pacts with Farrugia

Gallic film/TV giant takes stake in Few

PARIS

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has become a minority shareholder in Few, the production outfit led by comedy pic helmer Dominique Farrugia.

EuropaCorp will co-produce Few’s films while Farrugia, whose credits include one of 2010’s top-grossing laffers, “L’Amour c’est mieux a deux,” will act as special advisor on EuropaCorp’s French-lingo productions.

“EuropaCorp’s ambition is to create a constellation of expertise and talent around the studio,” said CEO Christophe Lambert. “Dominique Farrugia is definitely one of France’s top comedy experts and a fantastic teammate for us.”

Farrugia said, “The EuropaCorp machine is impressive and it’s reassuring to know it’s at your service. In these troubled times, it’s vital for industry players to combine their energies and talents so that we can continue to make ambitious films.”

Few will relocate to mega-studio Cite du Cinema, where EuropaCorp is housed.

Farrugia, who began his career in the mid-1980s writing jokes and performing sketches on payweb Canal Plus with fellow comedy filmmaker-thesp Alain Chabat, served as head of programming and prexy of Canal Plus from 2002 to 2003.

While president of Canal Plus, Farrugia tapped Fabrice de la Patelliere as head of fiction — an appointment that has proved highly beneficial for the paybox as the exec has been the leading force behind such hits as “Braquo” and “Spiral.”

It’s not the first time EuropaCorp has pacted with an indie producer. In 2010, it took a majority stake in TV shingle Cipango, which was eventually renamed EuropaCorp Television.

The partnership with Farrugia underscores EuropaCorp’s goal to continue producing tightly-budgeted French films for the local market, along with higher-bracket French or English-language fare for international auds, such as Robert De Niro starrer “Malavita” or “Mobius” with Jean Dujardin, Cecile de France and Tim Roth.

Since EuropaCorp returned to profit last spring, it has announced a string of low-risk, feel-good Gallic pics, notably David Moreau’s romantic comedy “It Boy” and Gerard Depardieu starrer “World Petanque Tour.”

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