France has shortlisted its potential entries for the Foreign Language Oscar race. Stepping away from the traditional fare, Gaspar Noé’s Climax made the cut. The latest from the Irreversible director scooped the Directors’ Fortnight top prize in Cannes after it blew away critics and was acquired by A24. The story features a group of mesmerizing young dancers who fall into madness after drinking a bowl of LSD-laced sangria. On the other end of the spectrum, late filmmaker Claude Lanzmann is represented with Les Quatre Sœurs which features testimonials from four Holocaust survivors which were not included in his epic documentary, Shoah. Also in the mix are well-reviewed Toronto premiere Mademoiselle De Joncquières by Emmanuel Mouret; Emmanuel Finkiel’s Marguerite Duras adaptation Memoir Of Pain which Music Box released in the U.S. in August; and Xavier Legrand’s Jusqu’à La Garde, about a bitter custody battle, which debuted at Venice 2017 (Kino Lorber has the U.S.). None of the filmmakers has previously represented France. The movies are selected by a committee made up of industry professionals and artists who will next hear from the producer and sales company of each before making a final decision on September 21.
In other French news, Studiocanal has appointed Jérémy Gabbay as Chief Financial and Strategy Officer. The exec takes up the new function on October 12. After joining Canal Plus Group’s Strategy Department in 2014, he was named Head of Business Development of Studiocanal last year. His early career included working as a consultant at BearingPoint and Arthur D. Little on media and telecom projects. Gabbay will report to Studiocanal CEO Didier Lupfer.
And in further exec appointments, Red Arrow Studios has promoted James Baker to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. He will continue to report to Jan Frouman, Chairman & CEO of Red Arrow Studios, and be based in London. In the new job, Baker will be responsible for optimizing operational performance across Red Arrow’s production and distribution divisions, and directly managing select production territories and portfolio assets. He will also oversee human resources and the group’s project management office. Baker joined Red Arrow in 2011, and has held positions including President of Red Arrow Studios’ production portfolio and Managing Director of Red Arrow Entertainment UK. He joined the management board of Red Arrow in 2015.