Celluloid Dreams, uMedia Tie Knot

Expanded pact opens up multiple options

PARIS — Hengameh Panahi’s Paris-based Celluloid Dreams, one of Europe’s most respected sales companies, and Brussels’ uMedia, a burgeoning Euro mini-studio, have tied the knot on an alliance that ranges across film financing, production, acquisition and international sales.

The partnership marks out uMedia’s status as one of the Europe’s fastest-growing go-to movie companies for European and U.S. indies alike. It also gives Celluloid Dreams the bigger company backing that specialty film sales agents, however well connected, now crave in tougher times.

UMedia’s sales arm uConnect and Celluloid shared offices at Berlin, with uConnect taking joint responsibility with Celluloid Dreams for the sale of Celluloid Dreams’ slate. Now sealing a long-term expanded alliance, uMedia and Celluloid Dreams can explore fully the options on an enviable range of film operations.

Raising a reported Euros110 million ($145 million) in tax shelter coin last decade, uMedia has diversified rapidly from 2010 into production, setting up a London office, and post-production, via a joint venture with London’s VFX house MFX.

In 2011, it tapped former Lakeshore Intl. prexy Peter Rodgers to head up sales subsid uConnect. It announced last week that Peter Bevan and Lauraine Heftler will head up new operations in L.A. and Paris respectively.

Launched in 1993, Celluloid Dreams has built long-lasting talent relationships with heavyweight auteurs worldwide — such as Takeshi Kitano (“Outrage Beyond”), France’s Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet,” “Rust and Bone”) and Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (“Dormant Beauty”).

At Cannes, it is selling competition entry Takeshi Miike’s bloodbath thriller “Shield of Straw” and Katrin Gebbe’s Un Certain Regard religious faith drama “Tore’s Pogo.”

Just how uMedia and Celluloid Dreams collaborate will be decided on a project-by-project basis, uMedia CEO Adrian Politowski told Variety.

At Cannes, Rodgers and Panahi will again share offices and join forces on international acquisitions and sales operations.

Celluloid Dreams’ genre label, Celluloid Nightmares, will also be included in the mix.

“The partnership with Hengameh Panahi and Celluloid Dreams allows us to work with a person who has a huge expertise in specialty films and genre films,” Politowski added.

Celluloid and uConnect’s slate includes U.S. director Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha,” Catriona McKenzie’s “Satellite Boy,” Takeshi Kitano’s “Outrage Beyond,” Daniel Algrant’s “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” with Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”) and “Fright Night” star Imogen Poots, and S. Craig Zahler’s “Bone Tomahawk,” toplining Timothy Olyphant, Peter Sarsgaard, Jennifer Carpenter, Richard Jenkins and Kurt Russell.

Pact also allows Panahi to bring projects from her vast talent connections to uMedia’s now considerable international co-production and tax-financing structures.

“We’re bringing to the table different expertise and different networks of talent relations, which makes for a very rich partnership,” Panahi said.

UMedia has “a win-win attitude of sharing rights and upside with creative talent which is hugely attractive and will make for better films,” she enthused.

“We can help producers structure their projects in the most effective way, not only financially, but also logistically and creatively,” Politowski added.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content