Country Focus: France
CNC grants €540.6m in funding for 2009
by Fabien Lemercier
30/09/2008 - Unveiled on Friday by Culture minister Christine Albanel, the 2009 funding budget allocated to the film and audiovisual industries amounts to €540.6m (+2.3% compared to 2008). These credits are mainly covered by three taxes: €120m from admission prices (10.72% of the cost of a ticket - estimated audience figures for 2008 are 185m admissions), €390m from television editors and distributors and €29.2m from the video and VOD sector.
Other sources and mechanisms of funding are available. A total of €63m is provided by Sofica (group of companies who finance the film and audiovisual industries). A sum of €90-100m has been set aside for the tax credit for domestic film (€50-55m) and audiovisual (€40-45m) production in order to encourage film shoots and technical services on French territory.
Moreover, an international tax credit could be introduced in order to attract foreign productions ineligible for funding from the National Film Centre (CNC) to France.
The 2009 budget allocated by the CNC is broken down thus: €270.6m will go to film industries (compared to €243m for the audiovisual sector) including €158m for automatic support (€73.2m for producers, €22.3m for distributors, €57.4m for exhibitors and €6m for video producers) and €117.7m for selective support such as the advance on receipts (€24.8m).
The strategic priorities for 2009 include the increase to €11.2m (+10%) of the subsidies for film development and screenwriting, which will have risen 50% in three years. Support is set to be boosted for film distribution and independent distributors and increases will also be made to backing for film exportation.
The Culture Ministry has also earmarked part of its 2009 budget for the battle against piracy by granting €6.7m to the future High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI).
However, debates are raging just as the "Creation and Internet" bill and its graduated response system (email warnings to the illegal downloader followed by possible suspension of his/her Internet subscription for several weeks or months in the case of repeated offences) are set to be examined in November by French members of parliament. Indeed, the adoption last week by the European Parliament of an amendment stipulating that no restriction of the freedom of expression and information (i.e. Internet access) can be enforced without the prior decision of the judicial authorities could thwart the French graduated response.
Controversy, differences of interpretation and intense lobbying are underway. The APC (Association of Film Producers) have for example denounced "moves aimed at preventing the creation of a middle ground between repression and libertarianism on the Internet". They have also emphasised that "the possibility of stealing content protected by intellectual property law can under no circumstances be considered as a fundamental right or freedom".