IFC, Leconte 'Friends' for U.S. distrib'n

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IFC Films has acquired all U.S. rights to Patrice Leconte's French comedy "My Best Friend" (Mon meilleur ami), starring Daniel Auteuil.

The feature, which had its world premiere as a gala presentation in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, follows an unlikable antique dealer (Auteuil) who falsely claims to have a best friend. When his skeptical business partner (Julie Gayet) doubts he has any at all and challenges him to arrange an introduction, he frantically seeks out the help of an outgoing taxi driver (Dany Boon) to learn how to make a friend.

" 'My Best Friend' will appeal to the masses and be supported with an impressive level of marketing and distribution expertise," said IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring, who had the option to acquire the film for his IFC First Take day-and-date program but chose the IFC division known for bigger releases. "This acquisition further exemplifies our commitment to aggressively growing our theatrical release slate for 2007 with larger, commercial films."

Leconte's films have been a proven draw in a tough domestic market for foreign films. His credits include 1989's "Monsieur Hire," 1996's "Ridicule" and 2004's "Intimate Strangers" (Confidences trop intimes).

The film was produced by Olivier Delbose and Marc Missonnier through their Fidelite Prods., and co-produced by TF1 Film Prods., Wild Bunch and Lucky Red. Leconte wrote the original screenplay with Olivier Dazat and Jerome Tonnerre.

IFC's Sehring, Elizabeth Nastro and Ryan Werner negotiated the deal with Wild Bunch's Carole Baraton.
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