Paris-based Distrib Films recently branched out to U.S. theatrical releases, opening its first film, Col-Coa best documentary winner Becoming Traviata, last week at the New York Film Forum before expanding to San Francisco, LA, Boston and more than 15 other markets. Belgium’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar, Our Children, is now set for an August 2 release in NY, and a week later in LA. On both films, Distrib chief François Scippa-Kohn is teamed with Cinema Guild which holds non-theatrical, digital and video rights. For the past few years, Distrib Films has been working solely with French and Italian films in France. Scippa-Kohn sparked to releasing boutique titles in the States because there are “a lot of French films, but there’s no specialized French distributor.” He’s aiming to guarantee a “real release in the U.S.” on about six titles per year and “not just pay for a week.” He’s here in Cannes, but says he’s not throwing himself immediately into competition with other indie players, and rather looking to swoop in up to three months after a film’s principal market. He says: “If I miss some French films, it’s not the end of the world. But the movies I release have to have interest from the press and exhibitors.”
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