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French Film Industry Pays Tribute to Samuel Hadida

Members of the French film industry have been paying warm tribute to Samuel Hadida, the co-founder of Metropolitan FilmExport, who died suddenly in Los Angeles on Monday.

Hadida was not only one of France’s most respected and successful distributors; he was also loved by the independent film community and boasted strong relationships with major film groups such as Lionsgate, DreamWorks, Nu Image, Constantin Film and FilmNation.

“What a shock!” tweeted Stephane Celerier, a fellow French distributor who founded of Mars Films. “I just learned of the sudden demise of Samuel Hadida. Huge movie man. Great enthusiast. Infinite respect for this life out of the ordinary.”

Born in Morocco, Hadida and his brother Victor have been credited with bringing popular American movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” David Fincher’s “Seven” and martial-arts pics starring Jean-Claude Van Damme to French theaters in the 1990s. Hadida was also well-known for his collaboration with Tony Scott on “True Romance,” with Constantin Film on the “Resident Evil” franchise and with Christophe Gans on “Silent Hill.”

A true film buff, Hadida was also one of the first foreign distributors to invest in Asian talent, such as John Woo and Jackie Chan. Before his death, Hadida was active with projects including a U.S. remake of the Israeli hit comedy “The Last Band in Lebanon,” Roger Avary’s pulp action thriller “Lucky Day” and Caroline Fourest’s feature debut about female Kurdish warriors.

“Samuel, his talent, his taste in projects. We loved him,” Cannes Film Festival president Pierre Lescure said. He called Metropolitan “a key player in the exchange between French and US films.”

Jean Labadie, founder of Le Pacte, called Hadida’s death “terrible” news. “Samuel was a huge producer and distributor and especially a great man.”

Gilles Jacob, the former president of the Cannes Film Festival, remembered Hadida as a “great (and playful) distributor with his brother Victor at Metropolitan….A loss to the film industry.”

Vincent Maraval, co-founder of Wild Bunch, described Hadida as a passionate “man of cinema” whose death “will leave a huge void and it will take time to get used to it.”

Maxime Saada, the CEO of Canal Plus Group, said Hadida was “one of the biggest film distributors in France with his brother Victor via Metropolitan. They have carried so many films that we have loved.”

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