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Altice Steps Into Feature Film With Agnes Jaoui’s ‘Place Publique’

Variety logo Variety 7/11/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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Altice, Patrick Drahi’s global telco and communications group, is set to co-finance Agnes Jaoui’s “Place Publique,” the company’s first investment in a feature film.

“Place Publique” is produced by Saïd Ben Saïd at Paris-based SBS Productions, the outfit behind Paul Verhoeven’s Oscar-nominated “Elle.”

“Place Publique” is written by Jaoui (pictured at Cannes this year, where she sat on the festival’s official jury) and her regular co-author Jean-Pierre Bacri, who is also the film’s protagonist. The two have collaborated, both before and behind the camera, on a flurry of movies that have become cult hits, notably “The Taste of Others.”

Bacri stars as Castro, a once-famous TV host who gets together with old friends, including his ex-wife, at a housewarming party on the outskirts of Paris. Over the course of the party, it becomes obvious that success has changed Castro, who used to share the idealistic political views of his former wife but now has a more realistic, if not cynical, perspective on life. Jaoui also stars in the film.

Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte is handling the film’s international sales and will distribute in France. The film will start shooting July 31 in a Paris suburb and will be released in France in 2018.

Alain Weill, managing director of Altice’s media and entertainment activities, said that the company’s investment in Jaoui’s film underscored Altice’s push into content and its ambition to dive into feature film. Weill noted that Altice has recently participated in the financing of several TV series such as “Medici: Masters of Florence,” “The Same Sky,” “Taken” and “Riviera” for France, Israel and Portugal.

“Investing in French creation is Altice’s choice because the quality of auteurs, screenwriters, directors and actors is unique. We want to promote creativity and French culture in France and around the world in the countries we’re established in,” explained Weill.

Nora Melhli, who joined Altice from Shine France to head up its original creation division, called Jaoui and Bacri one of the most talented duos in French cinema.

“This choice [to invest in ‘Place Publique’] confirms the editorial line that we initiated a year ago with ambitious and original projects that showcase a diversity of genres and creativity of talents,” said Melhli.

The company has also announced that it will officially launch Altice Studio, its new service dedicated to series and films, on Aug. 22.

Altice Studio’s first slate will boast exclusive content from Discovery and NBCUniversal, recent releases such as “Jason Bourne” and “Despicable Me 3,” first-run series such as “Taken,” “Riviera” and “The Sinner,” and movies from the libraries of Gaumont, Pathé, Mars, Europacorp, Wild Side, SND, MK2 and le Pacte. SFR Play, the banner’s SVOD service, will be part of the offer.

Altice is the parent company of Altice USA, the owner of Cablevision and Suddenlink, which recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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