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An all-out recovery plan is announced for French cinema


- The French state commits exceptional resources to all levels of the film sector, whether exhibition, production, distribution, technical industries, internationalisation, future talent or heritage

An all-out recovery plan is announced for French cinema
French Minister for Culture Roselyne Bachelot

Following on from French Prime Minister Jean Castex’s revelation of the broader lines of the recovery plan for the national film industry in late August (read our article), Minister for Culture Roselyne Bachelot has now provided greater detail on these support measures, on the occasion of the Annual Exhibitors Congress which took place in Deauville.

In addition to the €50m in exceptional compensation put forward by the government in order to counter losses in cinema ticket sales, and the €50m it contributed to the guarantee fund for the revival of film shoots, launched back in June, a further €165m will be allocated to the CNC with the aim of shoring up the audiovisual and film sectors.

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As anticipated, this €165m will comprise a sum of €60m aimed at replenishing the CNC’s coffers, fully compensating the group’s net revenue losses and thereby ensuring the continuation of all their creation and distribution initiatives, at their current level.

Of the remaining €105m, €34.3m will go towards film exhibition, including €30m to cover the needs of movie theatres in terms of cashflow, modernisation costs and bank charges (via the equivalent of one year’s worth of automatic support for small and mid-sized exhibitors, and nine months’ assistance for the seven larger channels, partly in the form of a non-repayable subsidy and partly in the form of a recoverable advance), €2m to shore up the selective aid offered to art house cinemas, bringing their overall total up to €18m, €1m in free tickets for film education sessions, helping teachers and their classes find their way back to the film world, and €0.8m to cancel the remaining debt linked to aiding the digitalisation of cinemas.

In exchange for the support which they are lending movie theatres - which have been particularly hard hit by the health crisis’ impact - the public authorities are also hoping that exhibitors will demonstrate some flexibility in the current renegotiation of media chronology rules, which will ultimately see the introduction of obligations on SVOD platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, etc.) to fund and broadcast French and European productions, following the transposition into law of Europe’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMS) which is due to come into force on 1 January 2021.

€12.2m, meanwhile, will be ploughed into encouraging the production of new films (by way of an automatic support bonus over the next seven months, and an increase in the CNC’s selective aid), as well as inciting producers to release their finished films between now and the end of December. In the same vein, €26.2m will be dedicated to the revival of audiovisual production.

€17.7m has been earmarked for film distributors, with a view to encouraging them to exhibit their films in cinemas during the recovery period (until the end of December 2020) and to invest in MG in new works between January and April 2021.

Technical industries will be allocated exceptional aid up to a value of €10m, while internationalisation strategies will be stimulated by way of an additional €8.3m (including €2.3m to bolster automatic support for the exportation of film and audiovisual products, €3m in additional support for UniFrance and TVFI, and an extra €2m for the Aide aux Cinémas du Monde fund).

Future talent hasn’t been forgotten either, with €6m pledged to the cause in the form of further CNC funds for the author programme (which lends support, over the course of one year, to those writing original and innovative projects), additional resources for film schools (notably Fémis, Cinefabrique and Kourtrajmé), the creation of a Young Talent grant for author-producer pairs who graduated in 2020, dedicated support for distribution and promotion activities targeting 15-25 year olds, and consolidation of the support available to short and new formats.

Last but not least, the heritage sector will benefit from an additional €1.8m (including €1m for the National Film Archive and an extra €0.8m in selective aid for physical video editing).

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(Translated from French)

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