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Other Angle launches parallel French feature-focused US production, distribution and sales venture (exclusive)

Source: Other Angle Pictures

Olivier Albou, Laurence Schonberg

France’s Other Angle Pictures has expanded its footprint into the US market with a new Los Angeles-based arm focused on distribution, production and international sales of French features with a focus on crowd-pleasing comedies and more commercial dramas. 

The company, founded by longtime French film executive Olivier Albou and his wife Laurence Schonberg in 2008, is looking to tap into its network of US producers and buyers looking for French remakes and original content. The company intends to acquire titles independently and release them in association with US distribution partners in limited theatrical release.

Albou told Screen that Other Angle’s US branch will work with “a regular stream of films that we love and we think audiences will enjoy to maximize all the ancillary revenues including TVoD, SVoD and AVoD.”

The stateside set-up “will enable us to grow our business with our majority French slate and also allow us to get on board English language projects from the financing stage.”

Rethinking the remake market

Through its new US branch, Other Angle is aiming to follow projects more closely after the US rights are sold – and give them a better chance of getting made – by matching titles to the best US producers and remaining executive producers of the remakes.

In recent times Other Angle has sold remake rights to French hits Retirement Home and The Last Diamond, and received offers for Babysitting, but none made it to production in the U.S. “We’ve had many opportunities for remakes in the US particularly in recent years, but for many different reasons, they never got made. Now, we can see them through,” Albou said.

Albou also highlighted how successful French comedies rarely gain traction at international festivals and therefore struggle to find distribution in the US.

“They say [French] comedy doesn’t travel well, but I disagree,” said Albou, who has previously worked on both side of the Atlantic during his 25-year career, including roles at Warner Bros, UGC, and TF1. “Having lived in France and in the U.S. over the years, it felt natural to try and build bridges between both cultures in particular with the comedy genre.”

Other Angle’s French Comedy Club event will host its third edition on December 1 in Los Angeles in partnership with Unifrance and the French Consulate in LA. The showcase will feature a handful of current French titles, both its own The Midwife, plus A Difficult Year (Gaumont), Second Round (Pathé) and Only 3 Days Left (Studiocanal) that topped the French box office last week. “We have seen the proof that US audiences can appreciate popular comedies like these even if such films have not been in a festival or won awards,” said Albou.

Other Angle will continue its core business in global sales, but, says Albou: “We’re approaching this from a production side. We’re not trying to replace the sales agents and we are not looking to retain any commissions on the deals. We’ll be on the production side of remakes.”

Other Angle is testing the waters with French features, but hopes to extend its reach to titles from other territories in the years ahead.

The company has previously sold a slew of titles stateside, including On The Other Side Of The Tracks with Omar Sy to The Weinstein Company and Jean Claude Van Damme action comedy The Last Mercenary, which it co-produced as a Netflix Original in 2021.

In 2022, it championed French box office sensation Simone: A Woman Of A Century that was released in the US in August by Samuel Goldwyn Films. It has also sold English-language titles like Anna Kerrigan’s Tribeca-winning Cowboys, Sam Friedlander’s Babysplitters and Hilla Medalia’s Cannes title The Go-Go Boys which it also co-produced.

The company has recently scored multiple territory deals for Melanie Auffret’s Sweet Little Things and Jennifer Devoldere’s Warner Bros feature The Midwife, and is currently selling Géraldine Danon’s ocean-set female sailor biopic Flo which premiered in official selection in Cannes.

Other Angle’s 2023-24 slate of titles includes Reda Kateb’s first feature On the Edge and Benoit Cohen’s My Motherland starring Fanny Ardant.

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