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INDUSTRY France

Fresh start for StudioCanal

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With the departure of Frédéric Sichler, the Vice-President of the Board of Directors and Director General who headed the international expansion of StudioCanal, the cinematic co-production, distribution and international sales division of Canal+ is turning the page after an intense period of internal restructuring.

The sole man in charge, Olivier Courson, who took over as President in March 2007, now has free rein to expand StudioCanal (current annual turnover of around €400m) both domestically and internationally.

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Appointed Director General in February 2003, Sichler led a strategy aimed at reducing financial risks and production outsourcing before going on to lead different initiatives such as the acquisition of UK distributor Optimum Releasing (see news). But after falling profits in 2006, Courson’s promotion to the position of President of the Board of Directors meant he was relegated to second position, his new role requiring him to work in London as of July 2007, an "exile" that has culminated, almost six months later, in his definitive departure from StudioCanal. His position will not be replaced.

There has been considerable personnel upheaval at StudioCanal in 2007 with Philippe Desandré assuming control of distribution in January (replacing mainstay Stéphane Célérier) and Harold van Lier (previously at Summit Entertainment) becoming director of international sales in October after Muriel Sauzay’s move to Pathé.

Expecting to co-produce and distribute 12 to 15 French films out of a total 25 features released on screens annually, StudioCanal has also concluded a 4-year renewal of its agreement with UK company Working Title, a tripartite partnership (with Universal) of co-financing and distribution initiated in 1999.

Moreover, the group has a catalogue of over 5000 French, UK, German and US titles, which means it is active in the field of remake rights.

StudioCanal will release Shekhar Kaphur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age [+see also:
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on December 12; Marc Gibaja’s Ma vie n’est pas une comédie romantique (“My Life is Not a Romantic Comedy”) on December 19; Joe Wright’s Atonement [+see also:
trailer
film profile
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on January 9; and Jacques Maillot’s Rivals on January 23, before releasing 2008’s big titles: Mathieu Kassovitz’s Babylon AD [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Fabien Onteniente’s Disco and Agnès Jaoui’s Parlez-moi de la pluie (“Talk To Me About The Rain”).

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(Translated from French)

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