Labadie unveils Pacte for French distribution

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PARIS -- Barely two months after being ousted from the company he founded, Bac Films, Jean Labadie has launched a new French distribution venture, he said Friday.

The company is called Le Pacte (The Pact), and will cover theatrical, video and TV distribution in France as well as international sales and co-productions -- much the same territory which Labadie dealt with at Bac.

"No doubt I will get more involved in direct production than Bac used to, but without ever actually being lead producer on projects," Labadie said.

Le Pacte has a 2008 lineup of six titles which largely reflects the kind of talent relationships Labadie has maintained over the years.

The initial slate includes Jim Jarmusch's "The Limit of Control," Christophe Honore's "La Belle Personne," the next film from Iranian helmer Hana Makhmalbaf and Italian Mafia tale "Gomorra" directed by Matteo Garrone.

From 2009, the company aims to release 12 to 15 films a year.

Labadie said Le Pacte is initially self-financed through the sale of a 5% stake in Bac, in which he still holds a further 10%.

"For the moment, it's just me. I have significant capital, which means the company can start life in very good shape. But I'm in discussion with a range of potential partners, some strategic, others purely financial," Labadie said.

Labadie is currently putting together his management team to run Le Pacte.

Bac was bought out by animation producer Millimages in 2004 when it was in dire financial straits, with Labadie staying on as the driving force. But Labadie was forced out by Millimages president Roch Lener in September, in what the latter described as a "management decision."
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