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‘Sink or Swim’ Producer Alain Attal Wins Toscan du Plantier Prize

Alain Attal, whose Paris-based company is behind Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” won the Toscan du Plantier Award, Gaul’s equivalent to the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck award, at a Paris ceremony on Feb. 18.

Attal, the founder of Tresor Films, was named France’s best producer of 2018 at the event, which was hosted by the French Academy of Arts and Science — just a few days before the Cesar Awards, France’s top film awards.

Attal said on stage that he shared the trophy with Hugo Selignac who runs the company Chi-Fou-Mi Productions and was featured in Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch last year. Together with Selignac, Attal produced Lellouche’s ensemble comedy-drama “Sink or Swim” which has 10 Cesar nominations; and “In Safe Hands,” nominated for seven Cesar Awards.

“Sink or Swim” follows a group of disenchanted men on the verge of a mid-life crisis who decide to form a synchronized swimming team. The film world premiered out of competition at Cannes and turned out to be a critical and commercial success, especially in France where it sold more than 4 million admissions in 2018. Studiocanal also sold the movie to a flurry of territories.

“In Safe Hands,” meanwhile, charts the long and heart-wrenching journey of a baby boy from his birth to the moment he finally gets adopted. The movie earned one of its leading actresses Elodie Bouchez a Lumiere Award, France’s equivalent to the Golden Globes, last month.

This year’s prize marks Attal’s second Toscan du Plantier Award. The thriving French producer had won the kudo in 2012 for Maiwenn’s “Polisse” which competed at Cannes in 2011 and won the jury prize.

Founded nearly 20 years ago, Tresor Films has established strong bonds with many highly popular actors-turned-directors and has delivered some of the biggest French arthouse hits in recent years, notably Guillaume Canet’s “Little White Lies” (France’s highest-grossing local film in 2010); Maiwenn’s “Polisse;” Radu Mihaileanu’s “The Concert;” and “Sink or Swim.”

Attal and Selignac’s current pipeline includes Pathe’s big-budget submarine thriller “The Wolf’s Call” directed by Antonin Baudry and starring Omar Sy, François Civil and Mathieu Kassovitz. The movie opened today in France.

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