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Veteran French Execs Launch Company Originals Factory (EXCLUSIVE)

Former TF1 Studio boss Tristan du Laz and French industry veterans Gaspard de Chavagnac, the former boss of Zodiak France, and Edouard Duprey, the popular producer-creative, are joining forces to launch Originals Factory, a co-production and distribution company dedicated to delivering movies to platforms.

During his tenure at TF1 Studio, du Laz started distributing some of the movies he acquired across diverse platforms in France and saw the large potential of some high-concept films, either such genre titles as Nicolas Boukhrief’s terrorism-themed “Made in France,” thrillers including “Kidnap” with Hally Berry, romantic comedies like “Adaline” with Blake Lively, and other niche movies that performed much better on pay VOD services than they would in theaters.

The idea behind Originals Factory is to co-produce or acquire eight to 12 films per year and give them an exclusive premium rollout on transactional VOD services, first in France and eventually across Europe for six to eight weeks, followed by streaming and traditional TV windows.

“We’re looking to optimize the value of movies by following a specific window-release schedule that is more adapted to the current distribution landscape, which is already crowded and has been disrupted with new players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and the arrival of Disney Plus, Apple Plus and Warner Media,” du Laz said.

“Every week, more than half of the movies that open in French theaters are stillborn, while the P&A costs to release movies theatrically haven’t gone down.” As for DVDs, sales have plummeted, leaving room for transactional VOD to play a bigger part and to be reinforced by premium dedicated Original movies.

A former senior executive at Canal Plus, Disney and Fremantle/Zodiak Media, De Chavagnac recently teamed with Duprey to launch production company Zorg Studios, whose first title, the London-set thriller “Kill Ben Lyk,” starring Eugene Simon, has traveled to a number of festivals.

De Chavagnac said the timing was perfect for the launch of Originals Factory because the demand for premium content has never been so high, and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon need to feed their pipelines as they will be required to fulfill a 30% quota on European content by the end of the year.

Financially backed by OBC and Coficine, Originals Factory will feed its pipeline with Zorg Studios’ movies and make acquisitions abroad, mostly in English-language markets.

Aside from his involvement in Zorg Studios and Originals Factory, Duprey runs the banner Kali Production, whose recent credits include the hit comedy “The Shiny Shrimps.”

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