Christal Films gets bankruptcy protection

Canadian distributor has 30 days to restructure

TORONTO -- Christal Films Distribution, a movie releasing partnership between Montreal's Christal Films, Lionsgate and Maple Pictures, has secured bankruptcy protection under Canada's Creditors Arrangement Act.

Montreal-based Christal Films Distribution said it received creditor protection from the Quebec Superior Court, which gave the distributor 30 days to restructure its affairs.

The move follows Toronto-based Maple Pictures, which handles Lionsgate product in Canada, last year ending its distribution pact with Christian Larouche, the veteran Quebec producer who runs Montreal-based Christal Films Production.

When Maple Pictures shifted its own and Lionsgate titles to rival Quebec distributor Seville Pictures, Christal Films Distribution lost much of its bank financing as Lionsgate titles stopped coming its way.

Christal Films Distribution said its financial difficulties do not affect Christal Films Production.

The shifting Canadian movie distribution sector has also seen the closing of the Toronto office at ThinkFilm as its back-room operations are shifted to Los Angeles by parent Capital Films.

Also, Alliance Films is close to signing a deal to release Relativity Media titles in Canada as the country's largest indie movie distributor attempts to pivot away from long-standing output deals with New Line Cinema and Miramax that it is set to lose.