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PRODUCTION Belgium

The unrelenting rise of Scope Pictures

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François Ozon’s Angel [+see also:
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(see interview) – a French production by the director’s regular partner, Fidélité Films, in co-production with UK outfit Poisson Rouge Pictures and Belgium’s Scope Pictures and released by ABC Distribution in Belgium this week – is the latest prized European film to be added to the jam-packed catalogue of Scope Pictures, a new production company and subsidiary of SCOPE Invest

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SCOPE Invest has recently provided funding of €2.5m for the new outfit’s total budget of €15m.

Founded in 2003 by Alexandre Lippens, Maximilian Weiner, Cédric de San and Geneviève Lemal, SCOPE Invest is an intermediary agent, specialised in tax exemptions for the audiovisual sector (see Special Report).

The creation of a tax shelter in Belgium brought about a parallel growth in these kinds of agencies, whose tasks and competencies – in contrast to those of production companies – are involved in finding private investors.

However, over the past two years some of these companies have set up their own production subsidiaries. This means they can diversify projects and remain independent from the choices made by other production companies (see news).

After smash hits such as Live and Become [+see also:
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interview: Denis Carot
interview: Didar Domehri
interview: Radu Mihaileanu
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, The Ax [+see also:
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, Merry Christmas [+see also:
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interview: Christian Carion
interview: Christophe Rossignon
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and The Child [+see also:
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interview: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne
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, SCOPE Invest set up its own production subsidiary Scope Pictures in autumn 2005. "The best way of guaranteeing their funds to investors is to do things ourselves so that we are independent from third parties," explains Lemal.

The company, which has a staff of 10, raised €7m in 2004, €9m in 2005 and an expected €12m in 2006. "We have recently built up our commercial team with a bilingual team in charge of finding investors in Flanders," added the producer. "We are planning to double the funds raised in 2007. We expect to make €20-€25m".

After Roschdy Zem’s Bad Faith [+see also:
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and Rachid Bouchareb’s Days of Glory [+see also:
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interview: Jean Bréhat
interview: Rachid Bouchareb
film profile
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, the new outfit is currently working on the production of major projects such as Cineman, a new feature by Yann Moix (Podium), which carries a €20m budget (the Belgian share is €8.5m).

Meanwhile, Jaco Van Dormael upcoming feature Mr Nobody (see news) – a major English-language co-production from the slate of the director’s company, Toto & Co Films , in association with French outfit Pan Européenne – is reported to have a €35m budget, in addition to €8.5m from its co-producer Scope.

The outfit has also said it would like to work with the UK. "We have been following the elimination of GAAP funding in the UK (see news). We have a lot of money to invest, we’d like to work with them and we’re looking for films [but] as cinema lovers, we are looking for films that we want to defend," said Lemal.

Scope’s catalogue is certainly testament to this.

(Translated from French)

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