The production and sales outfit, which has offices in Paris and L.A., is set to host a screening of Finnish hospital drama “The Replacements” at the confab. Set in the near future, the series centers on a nurse who falls in love with a man without knowing that he’s a clone created by her father to save her from a terminal blood disease. Produced by Matti Halonen and Miikko Oikkonen’s Fisher King, the 12-episode series has already been picked up Finnish broadcaster Nelonen.
Modeled on the U.S.’ fully integrated studios, Breton created Federation Entertainment in partnership with experienced execs and creatives, notably Alex Berger, a former Canal Plus senior exec, and French helmer-writer Eric Rochant, who are behind “The Bureau,” the 10-episode thriller series commissioned by Fabrice de La Patelliere at Canal Plus.
Breton said Federation Entertainment aims to co-produce and/or sell premium original series that have local and international potential. The topper sees potential in hot markets like Scandinavia and Israel. It’s recently picked up “Green House,” a hit Israeli mystery drama skewing toward teens. Federation Entertainment is also developing a first slate of project via its L.A.-based arm, spearheaded by Ashley Stern. One of these U.S. projects is “Victor,” a medical drama created by Carol Barbee (“Judging Amy”) and exec produced by Tim Quinn.
“Legends” stars Mathieu Kassovitz (“Amelie,” “Munich”) as a member of clandestine branch of the French Secret Service who returns to his home base after a six-year mission in Damascus and struggles to let go of his false identity and passionate, yet illicit affair with a Syrian woman. The series was created by Rochant, who is something of an expert on spy thrillers, having previously directed “The Patriots,” starring Yvan Attal as a Mossad agent, and most recently “Mobius,” toplining Jean Dujardin as a FSB officer. The show is produced by Rochant and Berger’s company the Oligarchs Productions; Federation is handling international sales on top of co-producing with Canal Plus.
The series has already sparked interest from various networks, per Breton. “‘The Bureau’ tigers a lot of curiosity because it’s not a typical spy thriller — it has a lot of depth and a tension that slowly builds, and it explores the psyche of secret agents in a realistic way,” said Breton, adding that the series is also compelling because of its timeliness. “In the first season, we touch on geopolitical issues that resonate with current events, and the second season will be even more timely and internationally driven with intrigue unfolding in Syria, Morocco and Iran,” pointed out Breton.
“‘The Bureau’ is not a French twist on ‘Homeland.’ The multifaceted characters, singular tempo and realism of the series as well as the fact that it’s grounded in Paris in today’s society, attracted us to ‘The Bureau,'” explained De La Patelliere, who has already ordered the second season.
“‘The Bureau’ was created the American way, with Eric Rochant serving as showrunner, co-producer and co-director, along with a pool of writers and directors. Rochant and Berger set up a writers’ room composed of three supervising authors, four screenwriters and a coordinator. Young authors were also invited to participate in workshops. Shot almost entirely at Luc Besson’s Cite du Cinema, the series drew four directors from diverse backgrounds: Jean-Marc Mouton, Helier Cisterne, Mathieu Demy and Laila Marrakchi, a Paris-based Moroccan helmer whose credits include “Marock” and “Rock the Casbah.”
“The Bureau’s” topnotch cast also underscores Canal Plus’ wish to blur film and TV worlds: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Lea Drucker, Jonathan Zaccai and Sara Giraudeau star alongside Kassovitz.
The series is being heavily marketed by Canal Plus ahead of its premiere airing on April 27.
Federation Entertainment bowed with a big splash in September, announcing “Marseille,” a political thriller series, which marks Netflix’s first French-language drama commission.
Jean-Michel Ciszewski is in charge of international sales for Federation Entertainment. Lionel Uzan, head of acquisitions and sales for France’s SND, is rumored to be joining the outfit in a key role.