Thursday, March 30, 2023

Former Playtime, Charades Executives Launch New Banner HAGO With Premium TV Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Virginie Boireaux, the former head of Playtime’s TV sales and acquisitions, has joined forces with Charades’ former chairman Constantin Briest to launch Have A Good One (HAGO), a Paris-based international TV development, co-production and sales company.

HAGO is rolling out the new banner at Series Mania with a strong first slate, including “I Killed My Husband,” a six-part thriller from former Empreinte Digitale producer Henri Debeurme (“Lazy Company”), and “Cuisine Interne,” a genre-bending crime thriller drama about a French chef involved with shady partners, from Cinetévé (“Parliament”) and 24-25 Films (“Les Promesses”).

“I Killed My Husband,” which HAGO is co-producing on top of handling international sales, is being produced by Debeurme’s new banner Next Episode for the French channel 13th Street. Selected at La Rochelle Fiction Festival, the series stars Erika Sainte (“Les Rivières Pourpres,” “Baron Noir”) as a woman who’s been wrongly accused of murdering her husband (Antoine Gouy, “Lupin”), and sets off to prove her innocence.

“Cuisine Interne,” which has also been commissioned by 13th Street, follows a young Franco-Senegalese chef who quits a prestigious position leading the kitchens at a top Manhattan hotel to start from scratch in Paris. Back home, she is confronted with the male-dominated environment of French cuisine and has to cope with mafia criminals who have taken over the restaurant she works at. The series is produced by Fabienne Servan-Schreiber and Thomas Saignes at Cinetevé and Matthias Weber and Thibault Gast at 24-25 Films.

Boireaux started her career as a sales executive at Cyber Group Studio and went on to work at AB International Distribution (now Mediawan), where she sold shows such as “Mafiosa” and “Spiral,” before joining Twentieth Century Fox where she oversaw sales of films and TV series for part of EMEA. She then joined Playtime, the indie prestige banner backing auteurs such as Jacques Audiard, Francois Ozon and Naomi Kawase, where she helped create a TV department, and handled sales and acquisitions of shows such as “Mental,” “Trauma,” “Helvetica” and “If You See My Mother.”

“I spent most of the past decade handling international sales for groups of various sizes, and when I got the opportunity to carry on acquisitions, I became quite fond of the process of talking to producers, well-established or newcomers, and envision what we could do together,” said Boireaux, HAGO’s managing director.

“When Constantin contacted me with this great idea to create our own boutique company, I was thrilled to discuss the strategy with him, and it became quite obvious that we wanted to be more than a sales company,” said Boireaux, who is attending Series Mania with Briest.

“Ultimately, our goal is to position ourselves on the development, co-production and distribution of projects, whether documentaries, TV series and eventually feature films; as long as we love the concepts and the people behind them,” said Boireaux.

Besides “I Killed My Husband” and “Cuisine Interne,” HAGO is handling “Bellefond,” a 90-minute procedural produced by Mehdi Sabbar and Benjamin Dupont-Jubien’s Big Band Story for French broadcaster France Televisions. “Bellefond” stars popular French TV host and journalist Stéphane Bern as a prosecutor who teaches criminal law and teams with three of his students to carry on an investigation.

HAGO is also selling “Bros” (“Frérots”), a 10-part half-hour comedy series co-produced by Benjamin Morgaine and Lionel Dutemple at Beli Productions about two opposite sisters who have to get closer to fix personal issues while throwing themselves into mixed martial arts. The series has been ordered by OCS.

The newly-launched outfit is also working with Sydney Gallonde’s Make It Happen Studio, the company behind Guillaume Muso’s “The Reunion” (with MGM International TV Productions), and Harlan Coban’s “No Second Chance,” on a new book adaptation.

“We are proud to have been entrusted such well-established and talented producers right off the bat,” said Boireaux, who added that “the evolution of the French and European fiction landscape these past few years has never been this exciting.”

HAGO will also be selling socially- and politically-engaged one-off documentaries, such as Aïssa Maïga and Isabelle Simeoni’s “Regard Noir,” produced by Nolita and Zadig Productions for Canal Plus. The documentary expands on the manifesto published in 2018 about the condition of Black people in the French industry, and features major voices, such as Ava DuVernay, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ryan Coogler.

Also on HAGO’s docu slate is Empreinte Digitale’s “More Than One Way,” which revolves around Sammy Davis Jr and his life during the 1960s, his involvement in the Civil Rights, his interracial marriage at a time when it was illegal in parts of the U.S., and his fight to improve Black representation in the entertainment industry. “More Than One Way” has been ordered by OCS.

The company is also repping part of EMEA on Sabrina Van Tassel’s award-winning feature documentary “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” a character study and true crime investigation about a miscarriage of justice. The docu world premiered at Tribeca and will have its French premiere at Deauville.

Melissa Lucio, the documentary’s subject, has been on death row for over 14 years. She lost her last appeal in February 2021 and her fate is now up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Produced by Vito Films, “The State of Texas vs Melissa” was theatrically released in France on Sept. 15, and is streaming on Hulu in the U.S., and will soon launch on Stan Australia and in Latin America.

Briest, who joins from Charades (“Miraï,” “Leto,” “I Lost My Body”), which he co-founded, also recently created Latika, a new production company whose first feature credit is “Une comedie romantique” with Alex Lutz and Golshifteh Faharani, which is slated to release in the fall of 2022. He is the CEO of HAGO, in charge of business development and corporate financing.


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