Permanent adaptation of the French model
by Fabien Lemercier
- The aid for distribution plan, the export plan, the agreement on the follow-up screenings of works and the first signs of the impact of tax credits: 2016 has been a busy year
Concluded by a strong political sign on the funding of audiovisual works with the adoption by the Parliament of the so-called "YouTube" tax, which will be rolled out starting in 2017, bolstering support funds from the CNC, receipts from advertising and sponsorship for online videos, 2016 was a year that saw the French film industry equip itself with new tools to strengthen a well-oiled system (based on contributions to funding for creative works by all those who broadcast them) that supports and guarantees the diversity of works and economic activity.
Among the most notable measures, the CNC has come up with a plan for aid for distribution, which will enter into force on 1 January, to support a sector of the industry that takes big financial risks and sometimes has problems in funding production upstream and in leading ambitious release campaigns. €5 million extra (+12%) in selective and automatic aid will be deployed, and distributors will also have access to participation loans via the IFCIC (Institute for the Financing of Film and Cultural Industries).
Announced at the Cannes Film Festival, the agreement on the follow-up screening of works is also symbolic of the willingness of the public authorities, in tandem with professionals, to ensure the improved broadcasting of films and to allow greater access to works across France. This agreement notably includes (in a very precise way whilst still allowing a minimum degree of flexibility) multiprogramming in multiplexes with six or more screens. Among other things, it guarantees a minimum number of screenings for films, a running time of at least two weeks, and a commitment from theatres at least two weeks before the national release. The agreement also aims to improve the distribution of films in rural areas and in towns with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants.
Also worth mentioning is the original Export Plan (see article), the results of which will be very interesting to follow as this support for the exporters of French films will be quantified based on actual admissions racked up by the films in the countries in which they are sold.
2016 also saw the first benefits of the recasting of tax credit tools for film and audiovisual works (see news article), which has already made it possible to bring a lot of shoots for French films tempted to go abroad back to France, with the desire of international productions to come and shoot in France rapidly surpassing even the most optimistic of forecasts (as at 30 November 2016, 36 shoots and over €152 million were spent in France; notably Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan, which was filmed in May-June in Northern France).
This year, the CNC also set up ACM Distribution (initiated with the Europe Creative Media programme – see interview) to support the international circulation of French co-productions with the rest of the world, whilst pushing forward with its aid for development for French-Italian, French-Portuguese and French-Greek productions.
On the agenda for 2017 are notably a reform of the agreement on feature films, a possible plan for structuring the visual digital effects (VFX) sector, and the redefinition of support for arthouse pieces. All without forgetting the recurring issue of the possible modification of media chronology (see article) in a context which has recently seen the arrival in France of Amazon Prime Video. A newcomer which will no doubt help to accelerate the development of subscription VoD in France, a method for consuming works that is growing annually and will almost certainly spread to various other economic sectors, but which is still far from exploiting its enormous potential.
(Translated from French)