French Insider Episode 17: The Ins and Outs of International Production and Entertainment with Tim Stephen


In this episode of French Insider, Tim Stephen, EVP of Strategy and Head of Business & Legal Affairs at Gaumont Film US, the Los Angeles-based TV production arm of French film studio Gaumont, joins host and Sheppard Mullin attorney Alex Akhavan to discuss the challenges and rewards of internal production and entertainment, including how streaming has changed the business of entertainment, the cultural and legal differences productions typically encounter outside the United States and the various reasons production companies might choose to film in other countries and territories.


What We Discussed in This Episode

  • What can you tell us about Gaumont Film US and your role there?
  • What are a few projects Gaumont Film US has produced in the United States?
  • How often are you filming outside the United States?
  • How would you describe the relationship between Gaumont Film US and its French parent company?
  • Do you ever find that Gaumont Film US and its French parent are producing similar IP concurrently?
  • What cultural and legal differences have you encountered, both in the context of Gaumont and while producing elsewhere in the world?
  • Why would Gaumont or another studio choose to film outside the United States?
  • What other changes have you seen in the entertainment industry?
  • What do you enjoy about the work you do? What motivates you, and what are you most excited about?

About Tim Stephen

Tim Stephen has more than 20 years of executive experience across a broad range of entertainment-industry disciplines, including business and legal affairs, television development and production and international co-financing. As EVP of Strategy and Head of Business & Legal Affairs, he oversees business and legal matters for film, television, animation and distribution for Gaumont Fim US, a subsidiary of French film studio Gaumont.

Gaumont Film US produces drama and comedy programming for both the U.S. and international markets, including Hannibal, which aired on NBC from April 2013 - August 2022, as well as the Golden Globes-winning drama Narcos, currently airing on Netflix.

About Alex Akhavan

Alex Akhavan is an associate in the Entertainment, Technology and Advertising Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Century City, California office, where he represents producers, studios, media companies and networks in connection with entertainment productions throughout the United States and around the world.

In addition to advising Gaumont Film US on matters of clearance and production, Alex has served as production counsel to Campanario Entertainment. He also leads the firm’s Disney Television Animation and Amazon Studios’ unscripted teams and regularly negotiates development and production agreements on behalf of Disney, Amazon and Univision.

Contact Information

Tim Stephen

Alex Akhavan

Additional Resources:

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