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ACE has taste for adventure

French producer and distributor ACE Entertainment Films has hired GRB Entertainment’s chief operating officer and head of global television and distribution to lead a push into adventure-family movies for TV and streamers.

Marielle Zuccarelli

Marielle Zuccarelli has been named in the newly created position of president of global sales. Zuccarelli joins from GRB, where she oversaw growth across domestic television, digital, brand partnerships, international distribution and programme acquisition.

Prior to that, Zuccarelli was executive VP of programme distribution for Sonar Entertainment. She led the company’s sales division and was responsible for all media sales, coproductions and programme acquisitions. At ACE, she will be based in LA and will lead worldwide sales initiatives.

ACE already has distribution agreements in place and original content in the pipeline targeting families. This includes The Adventures of Jurassic Pet, which has wrapped production. It tells the story of an adventurous teenager who must find the courage to help a friendly dinosaur escape from the clutches of a mad scientist.

The film has been pre-sold to Lionsgate-owned Grindstone Entertainment Group in North America, France Télévisions in France and Kew Media in the UK.

Two films now in post-production include A.R.I. and The Adventures of Rufus the Fantastic Pet.

In A.R.I., a friendly robot is kidnapped by a ruthless and powerful corporation seeking to turn him into a dangerous weapon. The Adventures of Rufus, meanwhile, features two teenagers who discover a mysterious creature. Working with a wizard, they must make a magic dust to save her, while battling evil forces that want to steal the dust. These films have also been pre-sold to Grindstone, France Télévisions and Kew Media.

Additionally, two other films currently in development – Joey & Ella, the story of the friendship between a teenage girl and a talking kangaroo, and CIA Chimp, about the first chimpanzee to join the CIA – have also been pre-sold to Grindstone.

These productions and others in development or pre-production will be featured at the upcoming American Film Market in November, where ACE will have a presence. ACE Entertainment Films retains licensing and merchandising and secondary rights for all of its original IP.

“The adventure-family space is an underserved market niche and, with Marielle now a key part of our leadership team, we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities going forward,” said Sebastien Semon, co-founder and managing partner at ACE.

Semon’s fellow co-founder and managing partner Jerome Reygner-Kalfon added: “Marielle’s expertise and experience will help us reach markets and buyers keen for the types of productions we are creating – family-friendly films with sophisticated CGI elements that have a US look but a European touch to the storytelling and artistic point of view, as well as a subtle pro-social message.”

ACE Entertainment Films is part of the SJ Investments group, which specialises in investing in filmed entertainment. It has offices in Paris, London and LA.

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