Studio 37 inks first-look deal with Rezo

Film subsidiary has 'privileged partnership' with Kinology

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CANNES -- Two years after its launch, French telecom Orange's Paris-based film subsidiary Studio 37 has become a co-production powerhouse via a partnership with Rezo Films and several high-profile projects.

Headed by Frederique Dumas, Studio 37 has inked a first-look deal with Rezo Films for Gallic distribution. Studio 37 also has a "privileged partnership" deal with Gregoire Melin's young international sales outlet Kinology. "We're really focusing on diversity. We want to be both artistically and technologically innovative," Dumas told The Hollywood Reporter.

Rezo will have first pick for Studio 37's titles and plans to distribute 7-8 Studio 37 co-productions per year, among around a dozen total theatrical releases. "Studio 37 has a unique collaborative strategy with several different distributors. It's really a singularity that allows us to work together with a certain freedom," Rezo topper Jean-Michel Rey said in an interview.

Dumas added: "Film is a collective adventure. We don't want to limit ourselves to one distributor."

Studio 37's lineup also includes co-productions with many of the major Gallic and international studios including Warners, Europacorp, UGC and Universal, with whom Studio 37 is in postproduction on the biopic "Serge Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life."

Studio 37 also has announced ongoing negotiations with Kirsten Dunst and Emile Hirsch to co-star in Juan Solonas' English-language title "Upside Down," co-produced with Onyx Films.

Studio 37 will be focusing more and more on animated titles, with Marathon's "Totally Spies" franchise, this year's Festival de Cannes Director's Fortnight title "Round Da Way," and Antoine Charreyon's 3-D animated motion capture film "Prodigies" co-produced with Onyx Films and Fidelite Films and set for a second semester 2010 release. "We're really looking for new forms of audiovisual writing," Dumas said, but added: "We're not looking to do what the Americans can do better."

While Studio 37's global budget hasn't been directly affected by the current financial climate, the crisis has indeed affected the way the company will distribute its annual budget. The crisis has also multiplied co-production offers from US companies looking for film financing in Gaul. "The U.S. studios are making less films, so those independent films that can no longer be financed by the studios, are coming to us," Dumas said.

She added: "There's a real globalization taking place. We can all start to work together without borders and create an international network."

Studio 37 will focus on Gallic co-productions, but has already branched out into English-language territory with Benoit Philippon's "Lullaby for Pi" starring Rupert Friend, Clemence Poesy and Forest Whitaker and Olivier Dahan's "My Own Love Song" with Renee Zellweger, Whitaker and Nick Nolte.

Other notable Studio 37 films include Festival de Cannes titles "In the Beginning," the Competition film from Xavier Giannioli, and "Les Beaux Gosses," the Directors' Fortnight film from Riad Sattouf, as well as "Round Da Way." Studio 37 co-productions hitting Gallic theaters soon include comedies "Tellement Proches" on June 17, "Bambou" on July 8, and "The Coach" in September.