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INDUSTRY France

Outlook for digital projection (2)

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While 5,300 French theatre exhibitors have adopted a wait-and-see attitude towards the development of digital screening, with only 20 theatres equipped with the technology in France, the Goudineau report published by the CNC (Farewell Film? The Challenges of Digital Cinema) recommends a series of measures that could serve as a basis for discussions with professionals.

Daniel Goudineau first suggests introducing measures that would provide investment capital or support for theatres to acquire 2K projectors, which conform to the French AFNOR norms. However, he also insists on not excluding other CNC measures that would equip theatres with a projector less than 2K, while this equipment remains a supplement to 35mm.

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Moreover, the report recommends requiring producers from now until 2009-2010 to make all French films also available in digital for theatrical distribution. Where theatres are concerned, it recommends creating a pool of investors (guaranteed by the IFCIC, for example) to assist independent distributors in equipping their theatres with digital equipment, while also providing additional funding for the most vulnerable exhibitors (especially for one-screen theatres). The same logic applies to less well-off distributors, in particular, those who will handle a combination of digital and 35mm releases and who, according to Goudineau, should receive more support.

Other recommendations include several points concerning the thorny issue of encryption keys for playing films. It has been suggested to create a registry of “public keys” or “certificates” of digital equipment installed in theatres, and to choose a technically independent service provider working under the authority of the CNC, who would manage a platform of key creation and management.

Lastly, Goudineau recommends persuading the European Commission to take measures allowing for the digital post-production of European films.

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(Translated from French)

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