Stephane Milliere, president of Saint-Ouen, France-based Gedeon, has joined forces with the heads of two other French prodcos – Stephane Peyron of 95 West and Frederic Fougea of Boreales – to form a new distribution entity called Terra Noa, launching at this year’s MIP.
Fougea, who is the company’s CEO, says adventure, nature and discovery is their main focus. As a starting point, Gedeon is contributing 50 to 60 hours to Terra Noa’s catalogue; 95 West, 40 hours; and Boreales, 25 hours. Fougea says they plan to take aim at the international market, as 95 West’s catalogue in particular has not been exploited outside of France (Canal+ handles its domestic distribution). ‘Our goal is to be one of the major actors in the field in Europe by next year, and to increase our offer proposal in having independent producers joining us.’
While each of the founding partners are planning to develop projects under their respective prodco banners for distribution by Terra Noa, outside producers are being sought, as well. Fougea says they will offer upfront funding, and are seeking European and American filmmakers, and not just French. ‘We wish to create strong relations with the U.K. and American companies – coproductions, co-financing and sharing catalogues, as well.’
Non-fiction is currently the main focus of the catalogue, though Fougea says they are open to adventure/nature-themed dramatic projects, too. Fougea himself has dabbled in fiction, though his 13 x 30-minute series Les Seigneurs des Animaux (Lords of the Animals) earned him both accolades and acclaim in the doc world. In fact, it was that series that caught Milliere’s attention, and started the discussions about creating a distribution company. Late last year, the talk turned into action.
Looking ahead, the partners plan to use their contacts to build up their new venture. ‘We have very good connections with the major groups in the U.S., and we’ll keep working with them,’ Fougea says, naming Discovery and National Geographic specifically.
At press time, Fougea hinted at large development projects and a major new media initiative, though negotiations were still ongoing with unnamed parties.