2009 Report: Close look at funding
by Fabien Lemercier
11/03/2010 - Presented before the press yesterday by Véronique Cayla, president of the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC), the 2009 report on French film production helped make sense of the figures unveiled in January (see news): production is holding its ground with 230 accredited features (-10 compared to 2008) and investments are down sharply at €1.1bn (-26.3%).
"There is no economic crisis comparable to other sectors" insisted the CNC president. "Production has dropped, but remains resilient. And the real fall in investment mostly affects big-budget films for 96% of this fall concerns estimated budgets of over €10m”.
“The good news are the reduction in bipolarisation (rise in the number of big and small-budget films to the detriment of medium-budget features) and the record level of debut and second features. Moreover, public funding has remained stable, thus softening the drop in other sources of investment". Cayla returned to this state commitment when talking about the CNC’s advance on receipts: "In a period of crisis, the market focuses on the least risky projects. It’s normal, but it’s our responsibility to compensate for this overcautiousness."
The funding breakdown for the 182 French initiative films (FIF) accredited last year confirms the major role of television networks, which accounted for 28.8% of investment. Companies include Canal + (€164.79m in pre-acquisitions of 134 accredited features - including 121 FIFs and 13 minority co-productions); TPS Cinéma (€11.9m); Ciné Cinéma (€19.96m); and Orange Cinéma Séries (€7.22m).
Terrestrial networks that offer co-production backing and pre-acquisitions reduced their investment by 23.1% compared to 2008, including TF1 (€37.16m), France 2 (€30.58m), France 3 (€18.35m), M6 (€16.97m) and Arte France (only one to have increased at €7.84m).
The year 2009 was marked by a slump in financing from international sales, which decreased from €167.24m in 2008 to €17.11m last year (for 58 accredited films, including 43 FIFs) and represented only 1.4% of FIF funding, compared to 12.8% the previous year.
The Minimum Guarantees from theatrical distribution (€126.45m) were down by 19% in terms of their amount, but their investment share rose from 12.1-13%. Revenue from videos stood at €5.9m (0.6% of FIF financing).
Meanwhile, the contribution from SOFICA (companies investing in film and audiovisual production) came to €36.21m.
Public funding gained in importance and accounted for over 17% of financing, compared to 14% in 2008. This included automatic support from the CNC (€66.03m), advances on receipts (€21.1m), regional grants (€19.36m) and the tax credit.
(Translated from French)