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Agreements and disagreements

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- The 23rd Cinematographic Encounters organized by the ARP in Dijon explored several and sometime controversial paths for reflexion

Agreements and disagreements
Frédérique Bredin, President of the CNC

Europe, chronology of the media, profitability of French films: the 23rd Cinematographic Encounters organized by the ARP (civil society of Authors-Directors-Producers) in Dijon led discussions at the heart of controversial matters. Analysis, charges, evading, things unsaid, shared and diverging interests: here’s a non-exhaustive summary of the debates.

When it came to Europe, while the MEDIA programme received a unanimous positive reaction, the revised Cinema Communication (read the article) was met with a heavy barrage of criticism. The President of the CNC, Frédérique Bredin (photo), notably indicated that if it were adopted in its current state (ed. a few weeks of negotiations remain), France would lose between 10,000 and 16,000 jobs. Producer Denis Freyd (Archipel 35) expressed his fear that this “would profit big commercial machines which will optimize their costs and delocalize”. Present in the room, Xavier Troussard (read the interview), MEDIA’s new manager, underlined amongst other things that defensive positions should not be taken like those that emerged during the experiments with day-and-date releases. But on this precise issue, the discussions in Dijon emphasized the strong opposition of the great majority of French cinematographic industry professionals to an evolution of the chronology of the media (the order and delays for the availability of works on various exploitation mediums from the time of their theatrical release: VoD and DVD, pay TV, free TV, membership VoD) which the Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti wishes to make more flexible (notably by moving forward the membership VoD). To be continued...

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As for the Internet, Rodophe Belmer (General Director of Canal+) denounced an “exorbitant and anachronistic hosting status”. According to him, these hosts are “a new form of editors who avoid rules of protection for young audiences, funding obligations for cinematographic works and those concerning the sectors forbidden from TV advertising”. Also underlining that illegal free streaming is financed by advertising, he urged public authorities to act rapidly and make advertisers responsible for where they are advertising.

Finally, the highly sensitive topic of the profitability of French films saw René Bonnell (who will soon present a report on the question commissioned by the CNC) unveil a few paths for reflexion. "People are unanimous about the symptoms of the collapse of funding, but many disagree on the cure (...) The macroeconomic stability is not ensured in any of the bands. Production, which was for a long time making a small profit, has now lost its balance. Distribution is facing a very dangerous situation (...) Thankfully, the bill is unequally carried depending on the years. We are at a stage where we have to reconsider some funding balances, and welcome new capital,” while at the same time ensuring the maintaining of the same level of diversity (in the renewal of French creation and the exposure of different cinematographies). Concerning the production costs, “there have been unacceptable excesses considering that cinema is funded at 40% by public resources or conditioned credits. This calls for a minimum of solidarity (...) There is no miracle solution, but only solutions resulting from good will.”

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(Translated from French)

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