PARIS– Backup, the 14-year-old French indie powerhouse behind Alicia Vikander starrers “Submergence” and “Brimstone,” is getting ready to muscle up its production and financing activities with the appointment of veteran industry player Guillaume Lirondiere as COO in the run-up to Toronto, where the company will present a packed slate of upscale English-language films.
Lirondiere joins Backup from Fidelite Films, the well-established production company of “Asterix 4,” “The Odyssey,” “Marguerite,””Renoir” and “Enter the Void” — all of which were made during Lirondiere’s tenure.
After getting more than 300 productions funded over the last 10 years, Backup decided to drop its French tax-money business in 2015 to focus on production and financing. Going forward, Backup aims at fully financing up to five films (mainly in English), out of a slate boasting 10-15 international productions per year, in line with such prestige pics as “Still Alice,” which earned Julianne Moore an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 2014.
At Backup, Lirondiere will spearhead production and financing along with the company’s founding partners, Jean-Baptiste Babin, Joel Thibout and David Atlan-Jackson.
Lirondiere said he’s always had a high esteem for Backup’s financial skills and bold tastes. “I am looking forward to picking up the challenge and working with this relentless and motivated team that have managed to make Backup such a successful and international brand,” said the newly appointed COO.
“Having such an experienced professional as Guillaume joining the team is a blessing while the group is entering a new phase of its growth,” said Babin, who pointed out that Lirondiere’s credits include 40 feature films and TV productions, produced in 7 languages and in 10 different countries, with budgets ranging from $250,000 to $65 million.
Commenting on the outfit’s strategy, Atlan-Jackson said that “working on 40 to 50 films a year for so long has helped us gain experience, expertise and some kind of wisdom, which we now will try to use along with our sweat and capital, on a more manageable volume of films.”
Thibout concurred. “Coming from film production and distribution but also fund management, Backup brings extensive and different skills to the films we find passion for, which we see has become a condition to produce and distribute ambitious content,” he said.
Besides Martin Koolhoven’s “Brimstone” and Wim Wenders’ “Submergence,” Backup is attending Toronto with Fabrice DuWelz’ “Message from the King,” with Chadwick Boseman and Luke Evans; Martin Koolhoven’s “Brimstone,” with Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning; and Stephane Streker’s “Noces.” New titles on Backup’s slate include Evan E. Katz’s “Small Crimes” and Andrew Hulme’s “The Devil Outside,” which will be wrapped up by the end of summer.