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French indie production and distribution group Wild Bunch has spun off its international film sales division as a stand-alone company, allowing the group to work with third parties to finance and sell titles worldwide.
Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval will run the new operation, Wild Bunch International (WBI), with the company’s current sales team. Parent company Wild Bunch SA will handle WBI’s administrative functions.
By setting up a stand-alone sales company, Wild Bunch hopes to increase the number of films it handles and better spread operational costs over a wider portfolio.
“These limited changes create an opportunity for the Wild Bunch Group to spread its international sales costs over a broader portfolio of films, generating a positive impact on its overhead costs,” Wild Bunch CEO Vincent Grimond said in a statement. “For our international sales department, this streamlined structure offers exciting growth prospects that will benefit the entire Wild Bunch family from both a creative and financial perspective.”
Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which has long represented the U.S. rights to Wild Bunch titles, will continue to collaborate with the company via WBI.
The move, announced Monday, follows a major restructuring at Paris-based Wild Bunch, which got bailed out by its majority shareholder, international equity group Sapinda, last year in a debt-for-equity swap. As part of that agreement, Sapinda, which is backed by German financier Lars Windhorst, increased its stake in Wild Bunch to 76 percent. The deal also came with a major cash injection in the form of a $35 million loan for the development and acquisition of new content.
Wild Bunch’s current slate includes Ladj Ly’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Les Misérables; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Young Ahmed, winner of Cannes’ best director honor; and Rebecca Zlotowski’s Directors’ Fortnight winner An Easy Girl.
The company is also, together with Rocket Science, executive producing and handling international sales, with CAA Media Finance, on the Sean Penn-helmed Flag Day.
Penn and his daughter and son, Dylan and Hopper, will star alongside Josh Brolin and Miles Teller. Tony-winning playwright Jez Butterworth, who was behind Broadway’s The Ferryman, penned the screenplay, based on Jennifer Vogel’s 2005 memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life. The book tells the story of a daughter who has to come to terms with her perception of her criminal father, a bank robber and career counterfeiter who evaded arrest for six months. Wonderful Films, Rahway Road, New Element Films and Clyde Is Hungry Films are producing Flag Day. Funding is provided by Ingenious Media, New Element Media and Manitoba Film and Music.
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