Crisis-hit indie US movies seek funds in France


June 18, 2010 Updated May 14, 2009 at 3:11 PM EDT

Badly hit by the economic crisis, US indie movies are turning to French co-production companies such as Studio 37 to finance new movies, said its CEO Frederique Dumas on Thursday in Cannes.

"One consequence of the crisis is a growing demand for partnership especially from the US," said the head of Studio 37, a subsidiary of French telecom company France Telecom.

"There is a strong demand from American independent artists and companies who are struggling to finance new projects," said Dumas, an independent film producer herself for a decade (including Oscar for Best Foreign Film "No Man's Land) before taking the helm of Studio 37.

The firm was created two years ago mostly to co-produce and acquire French and European movies. For the first time, one of its films, by French director Xavier Giannoli, is in competition for the film festival's Palme d'Or.

"Nowadays, we receive 10 to 15 projects every time we meet an American-based agent," Dumas said at a press lunch.

"We are not going to do what Hollywood and the big studios do better than we do, but we are glad to be able to participate in interesting projects by independent international filmmakers," she said.

The company "does not have less money to spend because of the crisis but we will spend it differently because the box office forecasts are down."

Among projects supported by Studio 37 are a new movie from Olivier Dahan (Edith Piaf biopic "La vie en rose") titled "My Own Love Song," starring Forest Whitaker and Renee Zwellweger, scheduled for release early 2010.

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