Mike Fleming

dujardinDespite the tepid expectations going into Cannes, the festival turned out to be prolific with deals. In the latest, Drafthouse Films acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Cedric Jimenez’s period crime thriller La French, starring Jean Dujardin. This was a pre-buy based on an eight minute sizzle reel shown at Cannes. The buzz on that reel also got Jimenez signed by WME. It’s the first collaboration between Gaumont and Drafthouse Films. Alain Goldman and Legende Films produced the pic and Dujardin stars with Gilles Lellouche. Gaumont International head Cecile Gaget and Yohann Comte brokered the deal with Drafthouse’s James Shapiro and Tim League.

La French takes place in the late 1970s in Marseille and is based on the true story of the judge who tried to stop the French Connection, one of the most powerful drug organizations of its time. The film spans Marseille, which was the world capital of drug trafficking and the main supplier of heroin in the U.S., and NYC.

“One of our goals is to get young audiences excited about foreign language film,” says Drafthouse Films founder and CEO Tim League. “We combed the market and devoured the official selections. Nothing excited us more than La French.”

La French was shot on 35mm and will be screened theatrically in select venues in 35mm along with a collection of vintage 35mm classic crime trailers curated by Cedric Jimenez. Drafthouse Films also plans a limited edition VHS release for the film in addition to traditional DVD, Bluray and digital formats.