Le Pacte pacts with Corniche Pics

Corniche co-producing "Divine Intervention"

CANNES -- Jean Labadie's start-up distribution and sales venture Le Pacte is teaming up with London-based Hani Farsi's Corniche Pictures, with Corniche taking an undisclosed capital stake in Le Pacte, described as "minority but significant."

"Corniche Pictures, a member of Corniche Group, subscribes to a raise of capital in Le Pacte, which will allow Le Pacte to increase its development in distribution, co-production and international sales," the company said.

Corniche is currently co-producing "Divine Intervention," the new film by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman.

Labadie set up Le Pacte in November, 2007, after being ousted from Bac Films, the company he founded and built into one of France's most respected independent distributors, having released more Palme d'Or winning films than just about any other French distributor, including last year's winner.

He was pushed out by Roch Lener, head of Gallic animation studio Millimages, which took a majority stake in Bac in 2004 when the company hit financial troubles.

In parallel to his association with Corniche, Labadie said he has sold his remaining 10% stake in Bac, severing all ties with his former company.

For its Festival de Cannes debut, Le Pacte has three films in the official selection. The company recently picked up French rights to Ari Folman's In Competition title "Waltz With Bashir" and also has Italian entry "Gomorra" by Matteo Garrone. Le Pacte also is handling international sales on Amat Escalante's "Los Bastardos," which airs in Un Certain Regard.

Le Pacte expects to release about a dozen films annually. The company's distribution lineup includes Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control," Francois Ozon's "Ricky" and "La Belle Personne" by Christophe Honore.

"We share the same goal with Hani Farsi to create a talent-friendly home for filmmakers from all over the world. This alliance will allow Le Pacte to support directors' projects in the best possible conditions," Labadie said.

The partnership is also intended to constitute a substantial step in Corniche's plans to increase its exposure to the movie industry and seek other alliances with like-minded independent distributors and producers.