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La Septieme Salle, Arte Team on Preems

Pic by Gus Van Sant, Wong Kar Wai, Ulrich Seidl join innovative program

PARIS — Tom Dercourt’s on-demand programming platform La Septieme Salle is partnering up with Franco-German net Arte to organize monthly premieres across France’s arthouse theaters.

The community-based website was created last year by Dercourt, founder of Paris-based producer-developer Cinema Defacto, to expand the theatrical life span of indie fare, by allowing users to program pics (in their fifth to 12th week of exhibition) at their local theaters.

The website’s slate boasts Gus Van Sant’s “Promised Land,” Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmasters” and Ulrich Seidl’s “Paradise: Hope,” among others.

Via its partnership with Arte, La Septieme Salle will host theatrical premieres of select films co-produced by Arte France Cinema (AFC). Its topper Olivier Pere, formely artistic director of Locarno, will present the screenings and host a debate with auds.

“With these premieres, La Septieme Salle positions itself as an e-marketing tool, and will be key in creating an event around film releases, as well as testing audience feedback,” said Dercourt.

The lineup promises to be of high quality, considering Arte France Cinema backs many critically acclaimed films that win prizes at major film fests. This year at Cannes, AFC co-financed “Heli,” which earned Amat Escalante a best helmer nod; “Stranger by the Lake,” which earned Alain Guiraudie a director nod in Un Certain Regard; and Critics’ Week winner “Salvo,” directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza.

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The premieres will take place at the remodeled Louxor theater in Paris and will then be transmitted to 60 to 80 French theaters that are affiliated with La Septieme Salle.

Users will have the opportunity to ask questions in the run-up to the premiere to participate in the debate, or simultaneously during the event from the Louxor or the other theater partners.

Meanwhile, Dercourt’s Cinema Defacto is on board to produce “A Very Personal Assistant” (La Volante), Christophe Ali and Nicolas Bonilauri’s psychological thriller toplining Nathalie Baye as a machiavellian civil servant plotting a long-gestated revenge. Pic will shoot in the fall. Ali and Bonilauri last helmed “Wild Camp,” which bowed at Berlin’s Panorama section.

Other titles on the shingle’s development slate include two-English language projects: Francois Rotger’s “Ares,” the helmer’s follow up to Locarno preeming “Story of Jen,” and Michelange Quay’s “Haiti Ground Zero.” Quay last helmed Sundance standout “Eat, For This Is My Body.”

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