Following a divergence of views with Gaumont Multimedia’s main shareholder, Group Gaumont, about the 1999 budget and development strategy of the animation production subsidiary, president Marc du Pontavice quit his position last month, announcing he would start up his own company January 1st, staffed by several of his co-workers at Gaumont Multimedia. He will be replaced by Stéphane Partenay.
An executive producer contract ties du Pontavice to development and production of series he initiated at Gaumont, such as Oggy and the Cockroaches and The Magician. New projects that have been in development at Gaumont for the last few months could be created within du Pontavice’s as-yet-unnamed Paris-based production structure.
‘After nine years in Group Gaumont, where I’ve developed expertise not only in the TV business but also in animation, merchandising, and video game and Internet activities, I now want to be my own boss, with independence regarding strategy and investments choices,’ du Pontavice explains, and stresses that his ambitions are to build a solid and important company.
The new company, which will be formed with partners from the French and international TV industry and financial investors, will produce international live-action series and miniseries, animated comedy and action-adventure programs, as well as video games and Web sites. The company’s first projects will be presented no later than MIPCOM `99.
The divergent opinions between du Pontavice and Gaumont were not related to the results of the animation subsidiary, which is now profitable with a projected 1998 turnover of US$17.9 million. Group Gaumont says GM is not currently an investment priority, although there are no plans to close the arm or abandon series. The parent company plans to concentrate on injecting capital into its feature film department.