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Vivendi and Canal+ up investment in cinema, new Studiocanal chief

Didier Lupfer

Didier Lupfer

Vivendi and Canal+ have committed are to acquire a minority stake in France’s Mars Film and have named Didier Lupfer as president of the group’s film studio, Studiocanal.

Vivendi is to take a 30% stake in Mars Film, a leading French producer and distributor of movies. Stéphane Célérier, president of Mars Film, will become vice-president of Studiocanal. Célérer wil head up a development committee comprising leading figures in French cinema that will meet each month.

Lupfer, currently Canal+ Group director of cinema, will replace Olivier Courson who is leaving the group to focus on an entrepreneurial project.

Canal+ will also finance and put in place a scriptwriting workshop programme with the objective of fostering “new narrative forms and new writers”.

The latest moves follow the creation of a long-term partnership between Vivendi and the Cinémathèque de Paris.

Separately, Vivendi has unveiled plans to open 10 live-performance venues in central and West Africa under the CanalOlympia brand over the coming months.

The first CanalOlympia venue will be in Conakry in Guinea, Cotonou in Benin, Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo and Dakar in Senegal. Suitable locations are being identified with the launch of tender processes beginning for the project.

According to Vivendi, the venues will serve as concert halls, theatres and screening rooms to enhance access to culture and entertainment in countries frequently lacking such facilities, thereby stimulating talent-development in Africa.

The CanalOlympia venues will serve local artists and will create a network of sites where tours can be organised at the initiative of Island Africa, the Universal Music Group label. The halls will also be fitted with a recording studio and a rehearsal room to help identify talent, support new artists and provide international exposure, whether musicians, singers or comedians, according to the group.

Work began on the Conakry facility this week in the presence of the Guinean president Alpha Condé, with the expectation that it will open in mid-2016.

Vivendi said the move was designed to reinforce its presence in high-growth markets, where it intended to be a leading player in identifying new entertainment talent.