PARIS – Paris-based Other Angle Pictures, headed by Olivier Albou and Laurence Schonberg, has entered movie production, boarding Solange Cicurel’s contempo relationship comedy “Don’t Tell Her,” boasting a French-Belgian ensemble cast including French singer Jenifer Bartoli, one-woman show star Camille Chamoux (“Les Francis”) and comedy actor Arie Elmaleh (“Caged”).
In another sign of growth at Other Angle, which launched in 2008, one of its comedy flagships, Gerard Depardieu-starrer “A Mighty Team,” will open 2016’s 18th UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.
Pushing from the get-go its brand as the go-to sales company for French comedic movies. The Other Angle diversified into English-language movies selling John Hay’s post World War II espionage thriller “Lives in Secret,” with Tim Roth and Kelly Reilly, Zoe Cassavetes’ “Day Out of Days,” starring Alexia Landau and Eddie Izzard; and Sam Friedlander’s “Larry Gaye, Renegade Male Flight,” starring “Royal Pains” Mark Feuerstein, Rebecca Romijn and Stanley Tucci.
Beyond “A Mighty Team,” its 11 films screening at 2016’s Rendez-Vous is the biggest completed film line-up of any company in France.
Lead-produced by Entre Chien et Loup, (“The Congress,” “Miniscule: Valey of the Lost Ants”), one of Belgium’s top and most prolific of co-producers, “Don’t Tell Her” turns on four thirty-something women, close friends, who pull back from telling each other harsh truths. “The pitch is: The more you love, the more you lie,“ said Other Angle’s Albou.
“We’d like to control more the films we sell. Also, owning French rights give you more upside and profits from France,” Albou added.
Other Angle’s co-production of “Don’t Tell Her,” which offers more upside but more potential risk, underscores the current attractiveness of French comedy production. Many are made on contained budgets. 10 in 2015 sold over one million tickets, grossing about $7 million in France.
Another sign is Other’s Angle’s Rendez-Vous line-up, of which seven movies are comedies/dramedies.
In its latest acquisition, Other Angles has acquired international rights to “Shipwrecked” (“Les Naufrages”), directed by David Charhon (“On the Other Side of the Tracks”), and produced by Edouard Weil at Rectangle Productions, behind Benoit Jacquot’s “3 Hearts,” Guillaume Gallienne’s “Me, Myself and Mum,” and Valeria Donzelli’s “Marguerite and Julien” and “Declaration of War”).
One of the biggest French comedies of 2016 – one report claims a €15 million ($16.5 million) budget – “Shipwrecked” stars Daniel Auteuil (“Jean de Florette,” “A Heart in Winter,” a Cannes, and double Cesar and European Film Award winner, and Laurent Stocker, who took home a Most Promising Actor Cesar in 2007 for “Hunting and Gathering.” Auteuil as an on-the-lam banker marooned on a wild Caribbean island with an jilted-on-his-honeymoon dry cleaner. “A feel-good comedy, and one of our biggest Rendez-Vous movies,” “Shipwrecked” turns on their desperate power struggle. Wild Bunch Distribution distributes in France. Wild Bunch, Orange Studio, TF1 Films Productions and Belgium’s Scope Pictures co-produce.
Another big RDV comedic play, “A Mighty Team” toplines Gallic living legend Gerard Depardieu and French blockbuster “Serial (Bad) Weddings” stars Medi Sadoun and Chantal Lauby in “a feel-good family comedy,” per Albou, which Paramount Pictures releases in France in early 2016.
A soccer-themed father-son reconciliation comedy, “A Mighty Team” is directed by humor specialist, Thomas Sorriaux, whose best scoring movies, 2003’s “The Dope” and 2004’s “The 11 Commandments,” punched €13.9 million ($15.5 million) and $23.2 million at the French box office. Sadoun toplines as France’s best soccer player, dispatched back to his home village to improve his brand by a scheming agent (Lauby), where he finally makes up with his father (Depardieu), relating to his fatherless niece, who dotes on him, and training her local children’s team, taking it to championship glory.
“When we started, no one in the market wanted to touch comedy because they were supposed to be unsellable. Now everyone wants those comedies. They’re the French films that sell the best,” said Albou.
He added: “Even if they’re not always huge numbers, comedies are doing really good. They’re the films French film buyers consider their potential winners.”
Seen at the AFM, “The Roommates’ Party,” about xenophobic Parisian bourgeois forced to house immigrants, grossed about €6 million ($6.6 million) after its first three weekends from a Dec. 23 debut, thru Jan. It features a French star cast: Karin Viard (“My Piece of the Pie”), Didier Bourdon (“Serial Teachers 2), and Valerie Bonneton (“Superchondriac”).
Also on Other Angle RDV slate, are two other potentiually big 2016 French B.O. hits: Now in post, “Full Speed,” from Nicolas Benamou, co-director of gonzo buddy gross-out hits “Babysitting” and “Babysitting 2”; screening, bank heist farce “Public Friends,” marking a play for more mature audiences for star Kev Adams, currently France’s biggest domestic market draw, Albou said.
“West Coast,” “a sweet funny film in the vein of ‘French Kissers,’ and with echoes of ‘Stand By Me,’” per Albou, turns on teen hip-hop/R & B fans, spending their last summer holiday together on France’s West Coast.