Fast-rising film production and investment company Logical Pictures has acquired The Jokers Films, a well-respected French distribution company boasting long-term bonds with Bong Joon-ho and Nicolas Winding Refn, among other filmmakers.
Under the deal, The Jokers Films, which is presided over by Manuel Chiche, will be integrated within Logical Pictures. Chiche, a forward-thinking French industry veteran who’s been one of the country’s top distributors for Asian and independent American films, will also become a partner in Logical Pictures while continuing to lead The Jokers Films.
Headed by Frédéric Fiore, Logical Pictures was founded in 2016 as a financial and co-production banner and has now expanded into different entertainment fields through key investments in banners such as Pulsar Content, Marie Garrett and Gilles Sousa’s sales company whose recent titles include Elie Grappe’s “Olga” and Stephen Fingleton’s “Nightride;” Loveboat, an advertising and branded content outfit; Black Mic Mac, Pape Boye’s new production company dedicated to premium African content, and Cascade8, which specializes in new tech tools such as Blockchain.
Backed by the investment fund Logical Content Ventures, the company had an annual turnover of €20 million last year, according to Fiore, who also pointed out the banner has been receiving 1,000 projects through its different subsidiaries every year.
On top of its distribution branch, Jokers Films comprises the recently-launched film production label Spade, whose credits include the hit genre film “The Swarm;” as well as a heritage film division, The Jokers Classics, which boasts French distribution rights to a strong film library comprising nearly 150 titles, including Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” and “Memories of Murder,” Park Chan-wook “The Handmaiden” and Wong Kar Wai’s “In The Mood for Love.”
With Logical Pictures as its new parent company, Jokers Films will also be launching The Jokers Lab, a new production division dedicated to documentary features. Fiore and Chiche, who started collaborating in 2018 – when Logical acquired a minority stake in The Jokers — said their companies share the same ambitions to nurture talents and have an international outreach.
Logical Pictures’ credits as a co-producer and/or co-financier include Coralie Fargeat’s “Revenge,” the underwater horror film “The Deep House,” Sundance hit “Pleasure,” as well as Kirill Serebrennikov’s new film “Tchaikovsky’s Wife” which will compete at this year’s Cannes.
“Our ambition is to develop an enriching environment, a cocoon for directors and screenwriters so that they can develop their talent internationally,” said Fiore. “The goal is for them to be able to freely produce their next film, finance the development of their next series or documentary, and in between, direct an original advertising,” he added.
Chiche said it was “important for Jokers Films to be able to partner with an innovative and relevant structure, focused on the future and the artists due to the fact that the market changing at lightning speed.”
“Cinema is a sector whose performance must be judged over the medium term, and for that, it is necessary to have a solid base. It is this vision and this basis that Logical Pictures offers us,” added Chiche, whose banner will be presenting two films at this year’s Cannes, Jung-jae Lee’s “Hunt” in Midnight Screening and Simon Rieth’s “Nos Cérémonies” at Critics’ Week.
Chiche said he was also increasingly interested in developing a pool of talents in France and Europe. “We want to build long-term relationships with creators and help talents build their own identity,” said Chiche, adding that he was also aiming to support emerging French filmmakers who are daring enough and come from different horizons. The exec cited Jimmy Laporal-Trésor, the young director of “Rascals,” as a bold new voice coming out of France.
Over the last few years, some opportunity of synergies have already emerged between The Jokers and Logical Pictures. For instance with Refn, a talent close to Chiche, who is working with Logical Pictures on the development of his “Maniac Cop” series for HBO and Canal+, and is a founding partner of Loveboat. Another example is the filmmaking duo Zoran and Ludovic Boukherma who worked with The Jokers on their first film “Teddy” and are now making commercials at Loveboat.
“We are convinced that there is a real need to offer talents new ways to exercise their creativity and our recipe is to pool business expertise to maximize synergy, and to circulate talents between our different teams who work to make them grow,” said Fiore.