Ten years of advances on receipts examined
by Fabien Lemercier
20/11/2007 - Published by the National Centre for Cinematography (CNC), the highly informative appraisal of advances on receipts from 1997 to 2006 reveals that 751 advances were granted during the period in question (572 pre-production, representing 9.8% of applications, and 169 post-production).
With 82.1% of the funding going to features (15.9% to documentaries and 2% to animated films), the total amount benefited 542 directors, 73.1% of whom only received support on one occasion.
However, 40 filmmakers received funding at least three times. The lucky few include, in pole position, Benoît Jacquot with seven advances, followed by Catherine Breillat and Raoul Ruiz (five each), while François Ozon, Olivier Assayas, Tony Gatlif and Jean-Claude Brisseau were selected four times.
On the production side, the distribution of advances is less evenly spread, with a group of 25 producers (8.1% of the beneficiaries) receiving at least five advances over the ten years (or 38.3% of total advances). They are led by Gémini and Alma Films in leading position (42 advances), Agat Films and Ex Nihilo (31), Les Films d’Ici (23) and Les Films Pélleas (17).
Of the films to receive advances on receipts, 43.8% were selected at the six major international film festivals – Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and San Sebastian – with a good crop of awards in tow: ten at Berlin, four at Venice and 11 at Cannes (including one Palme d’Or).
The average budget for films receiving pre-production support is €2.78m (€4.67m for all the FIFs – French Initiative Films) and the advance covers 13.3% of the estimated cost of the films supported. On average, funding works out at €429,600 for an animated film project, €395,200 for a feature and €147,500 for a documentary.
Films with advance funding tend to receive fewer pre-sales than the majority of the FIFs, are released on half the number of screens (76 versus 160), but tend to perform just as well in terms of per screen average.
Titles that enjoyed recent success at the box office after receiving advances include Persepolis [trailer, film focus], Merry Christmas [trailer, film focus], Days of Glory [trailer, film focus], Azur and Asmar [trailer], Malabar Princess, Feelings, The Mystery of the Yellow Room, To Be and To Have, Raining Cats and Dogs, Tom Thumb and Eight Women [trailer].
(Translated from French)