Mediawan Group has acquired a majority stake in Hugo Selignac’s Chi-Fou-Mi, the thriving Paris-based outfit behind Cedric Jimenez’s “Bac Nord” which world premiered out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
The deal follows Mediawan & Leonine Studios’s joint acquisition of Drama Republic (“The Honorable Woman,” Doctor Foster”), a major U.K. TV production banner, which was announced the start of Cannes by Mediawan’s co-founder Pierre-Antoine Capton and Leonine Studios CEO Fred Kogel.
The acquisition of Chi-Fou-Mi underscores Mediawan’s drive to become a major purveyor of premium content; and will solidify Mediawan’s footing in the French film business.
Chi-Fou-Mi is a 10 year-old company boasting an access to A-list French talent and a track record with popular and ambitious French films such as Gilles Lellouche’s “Le Grand Bain,” Antonin Baudry’s Omar Sy starrer “Le chant du Loup,” Jeanne Herry’s “Pupille,” Romain Gavras’ “Le Monde est à toi” and more recently Quentin Dupieux’s “Mandibules” which opened at Venice. These films were all commercial and critical hits. “Le Grand Bain” had also world premiered out of competition at Cannes. It will be released in theaters on Aug. 18.
Under the deal, Chi-Fou-Mi will now join Mediawan Pictures, which is headed by Elisabeth d’Arvieu and regroups all businesses related to film, animation and international. Launched five years ago by Capton, Mathieu Pigasse and Xavier Niel, Mediawan is now the parent company of some of France’s most successful production banners, from Dimitri Rassam’s Chapter 2 (“The Three Musketeers”), Radar Films (“The Deep House”), ON Kids & Family (“The Little Prince,” “Miraculous), Mon Voisin Production (“Call My Agent!”), Palomar, Black Swan, Lagardere Studios and Black Dynamite, among others.
D’Arvieu said Mediawan Pictures strived to “bring together the best creative talent and create internationally appealing IP’s.”
“We love Hugo’s work and we have seen through the years his ability to deliver films that are not only box office hits in France but also travel around the world, for instance ‘Le Chant du loup’ and ‘Bac Nord’ which Studiocanal sold to Netflix for global rights,” said D’Arvieu. The executive said Chi-Fou-Mi and Mediawan were a “great match because they have a similar DNA.”
Selignac said the alliance with a powerhouse such as Mediawan will “allow Chi-Fou-Mi to fast-track its growth and allow the company to pursue even more ambitious films, as well as venture into upscale TV drama.”
“It’s always been my dream to produce TV series and continue working with talented directors, such as Gilles Lellouche or Cedric Jimenez, on their television debut,” said Selignac, who pointed out that both helmers were developing series at Chi-Fou-Mi. “Being part of Mediawan will give me the resources to be even more ambitious but beyond any financial consideration, I’m very excited about the creative partnerships and opportunities that will emerge as I’ll be joining such a great team of producers,” said Selignac, who added that he was already co-producing a documentary with Troisieme Oeil, another Mediawan banner.
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Mediawan acquires Bac Nord prodco
France’s Mediawan Group has acquired a majority stake in producer Hugo Sélignac’s production company Chi-Fou-Mi, maker of forthcoming Netflix feature Bac Nord.
The acquisition expands Mediawan’s film business in Europe and comes shortly after it bought Drama Republic, the UK producer behind dramas including Doctor Foster and The Honourable Woman.
Sélignac set up Chi-Fou-Mi in 2012 after 10 years at Productions du Trésor, where he worked alongside Alain Attal as executive producer on titles such as Les Petits Mouchoirs.
Chi-Fou-Mi joins Mediawan Pictures, the company’s cinema arm, which is headed up by Elisabeth d’Arvieu.
The company said it continues to look for creative talent in order to grow its production of premium European content with strong international potential.
Bac Nord received its world premiere on Monday as part of the official selection out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released in cinemas in France on August 18.
Distributor StudioCanal has also agreed a deal that will see it made available on Netflix worldwide.
Created in late 2015 by Pierre-Antoine Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, Mediawan now has over 50 production labels in France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland and Senegal.
“This acquisition is in line with our ambition to bring together the best creative talent and create the best IP. This new association will allow us to amplify the development of Mediawan’s film activity and to offer Chi-Fou-Mi our support in continuing to export major European successes,” said Capton.