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Jerome Reygner-Kalfon: “Manage your trust with care”

Diversity is one of the keys to becoming successful in the entertainment industry. From the beginning that was crucial to us and we are trying to embrace it as much as we can. Here are 3 reasons Ace Entertainment Films believes why it is important to be diverse: A movie needs to reflect the diversity within […]

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Diversity is one of the keys to becoming successful in the entertainment industry. From the beginning that was crucial to us and we are trying to embrace it as much as we can. Here are 3 reasons Ace Entertainment Films believes why it is important to be diverse:

A movie needs to reflect the diversity within the society we are living in (It can be achieved via the cast you chose or the story you tell for example)

Your audience will then relate and feel much closer to the story you want to tell as they can connect to it

Diversity is like 1+1=3. It has a very strong and powerful synergy effect and it will bring you success


I had the pleasure to interview Jerome Reygner-Kalfon founder of Ace Entertainment Films. Jerome started as a Sale Assistant at Europe Images International (Lagardere Group, France). Then moved to AB International Distribution (AB Group, now Mediawan, France) as a Sales Manager then as the Sales Director. After 4 years he decided to launch ACE Entertainment France with Sebastien Semon in 2003. Since then the company opened offices in London and L.A. Jerome is based between Tbilisi and Paris.

Sébastien Semon, founder, and Managing Partner started in the finance industry (at Worms & Cie) before moving into the TV business (AB Group) as a Multimedia Director for 2 years then started ACE Entertainment France with Jerome Reygner-Kalfon. Sebastien is based between L.A. and Paris.

They both managed the distribution business and the production unit with the objective of producing a minimum of four Movies per year in the Family/Adventure genres.

ACE Entertainment distributes and produces Movies & TV Series worldwide.


Thank you so much for joining us Jerome! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

My parents divorced when I was very young, so I grew up with two families — my mother’s and my father’s. My mother who is a psychoanalyst raised me together with my stepfather, who I also considered as a father. He was and still is a renowned psychoanalyst, writer, and a French TV personality. On the other side, my father, who’s the biggest intellectual I’ve known, was teaching. He married my stepmother was a high-ranking judge in the French justice system. My four parents were, in my eyes, the best at what they do. Unconsciously, I’ve decided to take another career path but they indirectly influenced my choice of career.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I remembered it very well actually, even though it was nearly 20 years ago! I was studied business and finance at Oxford since my dream job was to become a trader for a big bank. After spending a year in the financial market, I understood that was not for me at all and nearly ran away from it. My stepdad was working in the TV industry and found me a job at a production company where I was welcoming guests and getting them coffee. After 2 weeks, I realized that I wanted to put my University experience to better use. Thus, I started talking to people around me and found out that I could pursue movies or TV-related career. First, I thought the movie industry sounded much sexier than the TV. At the time the border was very clear between the two industries. They did not mix as they do today. So, I met a man, I do not recall his name, and told me “son, forget about the movie business, it’s dying. The future is TV.” I took him by his word and looked for a job in that industry. I ended up working for a well-known French media group in their international distribution department where I started as a sales assistant and I ended up head of sales. After a few years, I started ACE Entertainment Films with my associate and best friend, Sebastien Semon. I also always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and my own boss.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Rather than a story, it’s more of a moto. You can’t achieve greatness alone. It’s with a partner, your wife/husband, mentors, colleagues, business partners and so on that you’ll be good at what you do. They’ll help you in achieving what you are aiming at. In other words, my most interesting story is a shared story and producing is really about that. A group of people working together. We think that if our movies are as successful as they are it’s because, on top of having good stories, we can feel that people behind worked together as a team, with dedication and proudness.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

At Ace Entertainment Films, we are producing adventure family movies. On top of financing and producing those movies, we are also contributing to the origin of the stories. From the writing process that is quite lonely, to the birth of a script to the vision of a director and a production team adding its know-how to bring it to life, producing is quite of an incredible journey. I would say that for producers is certainly very basic but living it, is exciting. At the moment we are working on several projects including one called THE ADVENTURES OF RUFUS — THE FANTASTIC PET. It’s a quest that is full of magic and fantasy. Two friends discover a mysterious creature Rufus and the Wizard Abbot in a secret room. They are on a daring mission to save their magical world. With the help of an ancient spellbook, they’ll gather ingredients to create magic dust to take the ultimate quest to save their world. Along their journey, they meet three malicious servants with mysterious powers who are after the magical book for their own purposes, to turn everything into gold. Again, it’s teamwork to achieve success!

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is one of the keys to becoming successful in the entertainment industry. From the beginning that was crucial to us and we are trying to embrace it as much as we can. Here are 3 reasons Ace Entertainment Films believes why it is important to be diverse:

  1. A movie needs to reflect the diversity within the society we are living in (It can be achieved via the cast you chose or the story you tell for example)
  2. Your audience will then relate and feel much closer to the story you want to tell as they can connect to it
  3. Diversity is like 1+1=3. It has a very strong and powerful synergy effect and it will bring you success

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Two Business Partners, not three

A business partnership is like a marriage, it works when you are two associates, it doesn’t when you are three. At some point, we’ve partnered with a third associate and after some time for a few reasons. We ended up seeing the future and strategy of our company very differently, so we had to part ways. It was tough but we grew stronger out of it. It’s one of the best decisions we have ever made. Of course, it does not mean that you do not work with others. Business relationships are key but within a certain limit.

2. Manage your trust with care

Unfortunately, too many people are going for the quick buck and do not have a long-term strategy. So, they’ll try to abuse your trust, your network, your know-how and so on. For example, once we were acquiring a movie to be able to license it to a TV channel. We fought like lions to acquire that movie and at some point, we figured out that the supplier played us to get a better deal with another client. That was a classic newcomer mistake.

3. Don’t be afraid to take risks

The first day I arrived on the set of our first production, I was wondering “what are we doing?” We invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and here we are. What’s going to come out of it? We took a risk and it was a very important one for the future of our group. That first movie was called THE ADVENTURES OF JURASSIC PET. It was picked up by Lionsgate in North America and broadcast on Disney XD! We could not have wished for a better outcome.

4. Adapt to the market

We are product people and we believe that we need to follow what the market needs and not only to produce what we would enjoy or love the most. That’s how we actually started in production. We identified a niche in the low budget movie segment combined with the genre of adventure family. There were very few good movies produced in that niche and strong demand. By delivering a good story, a high production value and respecting what our clients are looking for, we’ve managed to be successful.

5. Don’t be too kind

Lots of people can be lazy and would try to use you and sometimes kindness does not help. Be fair but not too kind. Once a competitor of ours did not speak well about us and about a movie we were representing. We thought, of course, that is not nice but who cares. We have other things to do. However, that supplier continued and keep on being disrespectful because we were a competitor. We waited for the best opportunity to finally talk to him face to face. Let’s say he got the message. Since then he never dares to talk unwisely.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t forget to live. Work is important but life is even more important. In other words, looking for the right balance between your private life and your work, in terms of time spend, feelings, emotions, desires, etc. is crucial.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement would be called “understand yourself.” It’s not easy but I believe that if you’ve managed to understand yourself, to understand who you are and what you want, you are on the right path to success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I agree 100% with this. I am lucky enough to have met many people who helped me to get where I am, especially my wife. However, one person, in particular, is my associate and best friend, Sebastien Semon. The story is really simple if I may, he’s like a brother with a capital letter “B”. In moments of questioning, and hesitations, he’ll be the best adviser in its own way.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It’s from Jean-Paul Sartre, a French philosopher: “Hell is other people”. It comes from a play called Huis Clos (No Exit). The Other, the people surrounding us have the power to freeze us into a being, someone (for example: arrogant, rude, shy, etc.) we are not. They have the power to influence us, even more with the place that social media took in our lives. So, with that quote in mind, I’ve always been careful to be myself and not paying too much attention to what people say or think about me. It does not mean I don’t listen. I do but to the ones that are close and important to me.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

In my industry, I would love to meet with Dwayne Johnson, J. J. Abrams, Bob Iger or Reed Hastings only for a few minutes. I would like to ask them how they managed to build such empires, and can they combine happiness and being so busy and powerful?

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Unfortunately, I am not active on social media but you can still follow me on https://www.facebook.com/jreygnerkalfon and Instagram @ jeromek007. I recommend following our company on Instagram @ ace_entr or on Facebook @ACEEnterFR. You’ll find some exciting information about our next productions THE ADVENTURE OF A.R.I. : MY ROBOT FRIEND to be released this March in the U.S. by Lionsgate and THE ADVENTURES OF RUFUS THE FANTASTIC PET to be released in 2020.

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