New horizons and cinematographic roots to be discussed in Dijon
by Fabien Lemercier
- 600 film professionals have gathered for the 26th ARP Film Meetings to discuss key issues in this constantly evolving industry
Often cited as a virtuous and effective example of film funding, the French model for financing, organisation and regulation of the cinematic sector is by no means free from permanent changes stemming from the evolutions in the production, distribution and consumption of films. The Film Meetings organised by the ARP (the Civil Society of Writers-Directors-Producers) are a major event in France in taking stock of today’s biggest issues in a panorama of current events marked by the emergence of a “new audiovisual order”. The removal of borders and convergence of strategies regarding exclusive content will be at the heart of the debates of the 26th edition of the event (read the news concerning its programme) which will take place in Dijon from 21 to 23 October, with close to 600 professionals in attendance, including notable names like Audrey Azoulay (minister for Culture and Communication) and Frédérique Bredin (president of the CNC).
The debate entitled "Film and broadcasters: towards a new e-deal" is definitely worthy of attention, as it will include input from Maxime Saada, managing director of the Canal+ group, a stalwart of the French film funding world. In an attempt to halt the decline of its French subscriber numbers (upon which the amount of legally required funding, in the form of French and European film pre-purchases, is indexed), Canal+ is banking on a recovery strategy that includes new offers. A plan that all French cinema professionals have gone over with a fine-tooth comb, because, if Canal+ falls from its pedestal, the damage would be considerable for the entire sector.
French producers (who will be represented at the debates by Xavier Rigault – 2.4.7 Films and co-president of the UPC) will also be looking at rising powers, such as the SFR (the CEO of which, Michel Combes, will be speaking at the event), the telecommunications operator, which is going through a real period of growth in terms of acquisitions, currently sporting rights and those for TV series (notably Medici: Masters of Florence, which it bought from Wild Bunch), has its sights set on films (whether or not that is as an internal production operation is up for discussion). This debate will also include Jean-David Blanc (the co-founder of Molotov.tv) and Delphine Ernotte-Cunci (the president of France Télévisions) and focus on the question of whether these new stakeholders are to be considered as new “pay channels”, with the same investment obligations for production, or if the regulatory framework must be remodelled, all the while preserving cinematographic diversity.
Another notable discussion topic on the line-up at Dijon is the reform to the certification of French films (which would have direct consequences for European co-productions). On hand to discuss the topic will be producers Patrick Sobelman (Agat Films/Ex Nihilo) and Frédéric Brillion (Epithète Films), Ardavan Safaee (Pathé production manager), director Jean Marboeuf and Christophe Massie (vice-president of the FICAM – Federation of Film, Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries). Also of note is the debate “How to Avoid a Culturexit”, which will be moderated by Pascal Rogard (managing director of the SACD) and feature discussion from Anna Herold (the member of Günther Oettinger’s European Commission team in charge of the "copyright, platforms, data portability, and Internet governance" portfolios), Daniel Friedlaender (director of SKY’s European desk), French MP Karine Berger, MEP Virginie Rozière, Carole Tongue (president of the Coalition for Cultural Diversity), and filmmaker Radu Mihaileanu.
(Translated from French)
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