Veteran sales agent Carole Baraton has joined forces with a trio of respected execs to launch international sales and co-production shop, Charades. The news comes following Baraton’s exit from Wild Bunch as Head of International Sales this month and on the eve of the European Film Market, which kicks off early next month. The partners will present the nascent outfit on the ground and unveil a first lineup for Cannes. The company will have the capacity to invest minimum guarantees into select projects.
In the new venture, Baraton is partnered with Yohann Comte, former Deputy Head of International Sales at Gaumont; Pierre Mazars, former VP International Sales at Studiocanal; and Constantin Briest, founder of the co-production and co-distribution company Asuna. Recognizing the crowded sales landscape, particularly in France, the partners said: “We realized that our expertise in terms of territories and types of films were totally complementary. … The only way to launch a new player was by combining our experiences.”
Baraton, Comte and Mazars will be scouting for projects at the EFM. The plan is to focus on films that are “inspirational, entertaining, rousing, disturbing, terrifying and tear-jerking but always audience-driven,” they said.
Baraton spent 15 years at Wild Bunch, overseeing sales of such films as Palme d’Or winners I, Daniel Blake and Blue Is the Warmest Color along with Oscar winners The Artist, March of the Penguins and Spirited Away. She also successfully launched Wild Bunch’s TV department which off the mark included Medici: Masters of Florence. At Charades, she will spearhead sales and acquisitions across all English-speaking territories, Benelux and Scandinavia.
After four years at EuropaCorp/Roissy Films, Comte spent six years handling the international marketing at Gaumont, notably selling The Intouchables, Only God Forgives, Ballerina and The Boy and the Beast. Comte also successfully developed the company’s activities in non-English-speaking remakes. He will cover sales and acquisitions in Western Europe, Japan, South Korea and Latin America.
Mazars headed the home entertainment department of Studiocanal and later was promoted to VP International Sales, handling such films as Paddington 2, Shaun the Sheep and its sequel, The Commuter and Legend. His purview will be sales and acquisitions in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the operational management of Charades.
Entrepreneur Briest, who recently created Asuna, will oversee structuring of corporate and production financing.
Collectively, the partners say they intend to “defy genre limitations” and promise “a non-autocratic, fresh experience and energy at the service of its film slate. … The identity of the company will be defined by the films it supports, rather than the personalities of its principals.”