February 8, 2023

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Other angles keep banking on mainstream French comedies

3 min read

Another Angle, the French sales and co-production company founded by Olivier Albo and Laurence Schönberg, is looking to build strong relationships in North America.

The company, which is celebrating the 15th edition of UniFrance Rendez-Vous in Paris with six market screenings, is preparing a second edition of the LA-set French comedy event scheduled for April 1 at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills. The first edition of the French comedy club, which featured popular titles such as Philippe Lacheur’s “Super-Hero Malgre Louis” and the Kev Adams-starrer “Retirement Home” (pictured), with English subtitles, was a success, said Albo, who began his career in Los Angeles and Notably worked at Warner Bros.

“These films don’t often sell to US distributors who favor films with festival runs and awards potential, but considering the enthusiasm of people who fill theaters during our shows, we think there’s an audience for comedies as well. Theaters because watching movies is a collective experience and people like to laugh with others,” says Albo.

Unlike other French sales companies, Other Angle didn’t go after high-brow movies from famous auteurs, but rather mainstream films, mostly comedies, which might not be reviewed by critics but tend to do well at the local BO perhaps not as much as they used to, but the results still going strong. By the way: Thomas Gilo’s “Retirement Home” sold nearly two million tickets and ranked as the fourth biggest local hit at the French box office in 2022.

While these films don’t always travel well in some territories, other angles have been able to sell them to streaming services, or sell remake rights, Albau said, citing “Retirement Home” whose remake rights have been sold to the US, Germany, Italy And Spain.

The film, starring Kev Adams and Gérard Depardieu, was also sold in Belgium, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Canada and Brazil.

Over the past 15 years, Albo and Schoenberg, a colorful couple with three children, have sold some commercially successful movies worldwide, including “On the Other Side of the Tracks,” a buddy comedy starring Omar Sy whose sequel Netflix has produced; “Full Speed,” and “Bouncer.” It sold a bunch of movies to Netflix that were some of the most watched on the service in France, for example “The Last Mercenary,” which produced Another Angle, and “Spoiled Brats.” Other Netflix titles from Other Angles include “Budapest,” “The African Doctor” and “Blind Date.”

The other angle has expanded its scope beyond comedy on various occasions. For example the company directed Olivier Dahan’s “Simone, a Woman of the Century”, which became the third biggest local language hit at the French BO in 2022. The movie, which was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn in the United States, offers an intimate portrait of Simone Vell, an Auschwitz survivor who became France’s health minister and championed the 1975 law that legalized abortion in France. Veil is convincingly played by Elsa Zilberstein and Rebecca Marder at different ages. In addition to the United States, Other Angle sold the critically acclaimed film to Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Latin America, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. Other Angles now expects to complete sales in several key regions such as Germany and Italy at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous.

The banner aims to begin ripping off more films made in the U.S. Recent North American pickups include “Alone at Night,” a stacked ensemble erotic horror starring Jimmy Giannopoulos starring Ashley Benson, Pamela Anderson (“Baywatch”), rapper A$AP Nast. and Paris Hilton. As with its mandate for French cinema, the Other Angle prestige is looking not at US indies but at streaming or theatrical, American movies with commercial potential overseas.

The company’s current slate of new films includes Christoph Offenstein’s “Mission Vega,” a spy comedy starring Audrey Fleurot (“HPI”), a famous French singer who gets paid a fortune to give a private concert at Boumir Perdojan’s (Ramzi) villa. Son of an out-of-control dictator (Josien Balasco).

The six films Other Angle is screening include “The Midwife” with Karin Viard and “Sweet Little Things” with Julia Piaton (“Serial (Bad) Weddings”), “Hawaii” with Benenis Bezo (“The Artist”) and “Hands of Gold” with Lambert Wilson.

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