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Industry Report - The Documentary Market

Industry Report: Documentary

Charlotte Uzu • Head of International Development, Les Films D’Ici, Paris, France

- The editorial policy of a small French production company: number od films produced, co-production policy, source of finance for documentaries in France

How many films does Les Films d'Ici produce per year?
Between 20 and 30 films, that includes one hour documentaries, series productions and four to five feature films a year.

When you co-produce with European countries, which countries do you work with?
Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are the main countries we co-produce with in Europe.

Are you more cautious now when it comes to choose a project due to the economic changes in the market? Or has it not affected your company?
Not really, we still commit on films that we like and we think that are interesting, we are curious about new films and topics. I think international pre-sales and co-productions are tougher because broadcasters want to wait to see the final product or at least a rough cut, so it has been more difficult to sell the product. Regarding French broadcasters the situation is not bad, especially with the ones we work with, who are public televisions; they have the same budget as ever, so it is fine.

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What criteria does a project have to meet in order for Les Films d’Ici to back it up? When we come in on a film we have to look for the money, because we don’t have money to invest on films, so we talk to French broadcasters, maybe sales agents and regional funds. We look for the necessary money on our side to be able to co-produce, so it is a really ‘case by case’ thing.

What kind of topics or themes are you after?
We are very inclusive, we don’t do light entertainment, we do history, science, arts, current affairs, we produce a lot of feature films documentaries to be released theatrically.

What are the most important funding sources for documentary in France?
TV broadcasters – France 2, France 3, France 5 - are the main source to find funding for documentaries, and ARTE, these are the main channels you should talk to as a filmmaker and producer.

Documentary Campus, 23 & 24 May 2009
Faster, Keener, Leaner, Meaner: Survival of the Fittest in Factual
Manchester, UK

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