France’s WTFilms Sets Up L.A. Base to Bolster Investments in English-Language Genre Pics

Founded in 2012, Paris-based WTFilms, run by Gregory Chambet and Dimitri Stephanides, has built a strong reputation as a sales agent for break-out genre pics and has recently diversified into production, to access hit projects. As competition ramps up for more ambitious projects with strong theatrical potential, Chambet decided to move to Los Angeles in mid-2023, while Stephanides remains based in Paris.

“At WTFilms, we aim to continue to work on both sides of the Atlantic,” explains Chambet. “In the current market it’s important to invest in projects by talented directors, with innovative concepts, budgeted above $5 million. It makes sense for me to be based here because we work a lot with partners here and L.A. is a key talent hub. We’re on the lookout for talent from all around the world. There are really exciting genre directors popping up everywhere – in North America and also in Latin America and Asia. Being here gives me much bigger access to talent and partners.”

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In partnership with Charades, WTFilms is repping Sébastien Vaniček’s $4 million spider invasion horror pic “Vermin” (retitled “Infested” for the U.S. market) that was released in France by Tandem on Dec. 27 and clocked up 100,000 admissions in its first week.

“’Vermin’ is one of the biggest successes for a French genre movie in recent years,” says Chambet. “We have also generated great international sales on the pic, with our partner Charades.”

In Los Angeles, Chambet is prepping Jennifer Reeder’s next film, after having produced her previous pic, “Perpetrator,” which premiered in Berlin, and was released in the U.S. in the second half of 2023 by Shudder.

Shudder, the U.S. streamer for horror, thriller and supernatural fiction titles, owned and operated by AMC, is a key partner.

Being based in Los Angeles also provides Chambet with access to the vibrant eco-system associated with genre cinema. “In L.A. you have all these cool theaters where genre film buffs flock to see those movies, such as The New Beverly, or the Vista Theatre, or Vidiots – all those very exciting places where a lot of creatives attend and present their movies, with Q&A sessions. Screenings happen all the time in L.A., with many producers and directors. So it’s very exciting to be here.”

In terms of European projects, WTFilms recently produced Xavier Gens’ thriller “Mayhem” (released as “Farang” in France), which was co-financed and repped by Studiocanal, and was released in the U.S. by IFC in early January. The pic enjoyed a strong theatrical release in France in 2023 with 170,000 admissions.

WTFilms is presenting an ambitious slate at the 2024 Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris including “Vermin,” “Mayhem” and Frédéric Jardin’s post-apocalyptic thriller “Survive.” The latter enjoyed strong sales at AFM and is produced by “Revenge” producers M.E.S Productions and Monkey Pack Films (part of Federation’s Robin&Co). WTFilms is co-repping the project with Ginger & Fed, a partnership between Federation Studios and Sabine Chemaly’s Ginger Films.

“These projects reflect our broader strategy to partner with other companies, such as Charades or Federation, to get access to bigger movies and share the increased risk,” explains Chambet.

The company is also repping “The Soul Eater,” starring Virginie Ledoyen (“Just the Two of Us”), by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (“The Deep House”), which will premiere at Rotterdam and at France’s genre film festival, Gérardmer.

Another title repped by WTFilms, presented at the Unifrance RDV and which will screen at Gérardmer, is Saïd Belktibia’s “Hood Witch” that premiered at Sitges and will have its U.S. premiere in South by Southwest in March.

“We’re very excited to work with talented directors who have launched the new French wave in genre films and we will be announcing another major project during the Unifrance Rendez-Vous,” explains Chambet.

Other market premieres at the Unifrance RDV include Pierre Mouchet’s debut horror pic “Schlitter,” produced by Sombrero, whose previous pic, “The Advent Calendar,” was also repped by WTFilms.

Abel Danan’s “Don’t Watch” will also have its market premiere. It’s about a group of influencers in a house, targeted by a serial killer. “Abel is a very exciting new director,” says Chambet. “He basically produced and directed the movie. They took real life influencers to make the movie, and it’s a very ambitious project, shot in English, aimed at the international market. It’s part of that vibe of social media slasher movies that has been very successful recently.”

Chambet aims to continue working on genre films budgeted between $2 million-$3 million, but believes that it is essential to invest in bigger productions, budgeted above $5 million.

“We have a very good system in France and Europe to produce great genre movies that perform well internationally, such as ‘Mayhem’ or ‘Vermin.’ We also want to reinforce our capacity to invest in high-profile English-language productions, which is why having a base in L.A. is so important,” he concludes.

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