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CANNES 2016 Industry

Working with France: The co-production way


- CANNES 2016: The CNC held a meeting to discuss an important topic: why and how should professionals work with France?

Working with France: The co-production way
Laurence Clerc (second from left) talks about her experience of working on Sieranevada (© CNC)

The CNC opened its second week of events at the Cannes Film Festival with an important topic: why and how should professionals work with France? Along with case studies, they also gave presentations on co-production agreements and tax rebates, with support from Film France. Not only is France the biggest theatrical market in Europe, but it now has even greater tools to become the most welcoming host country for productions.

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In front of a packed audience, filled with international guests, Michel Plazanet, deputy director of international affairs at the CNC, meticulously explained why and how professionals should co-produce with France... Why? First of all, because France is the biggest market for world cinema, with a wide range of category-A festivals. At Cannes this year, 36 of the selected films were co-produced by French companies. France is also a major hub for international sales. Taking another look at Cannes this year, 31 of the films directed by non-French directors are being sold by a French international sales agent. What is more, the range of films supported and/or screened is highly diverse. In 2015, France and its 5,000 screens saw 654 films released, 330 of which came from 49 foreign countries, with 181 that were neither American nor French. The figures speak for themselves: France is still a cosy nest for cinema, and Cannes is its pride and joy.

Today, the mechanisms for co-production are very well developed, with a €5 million budget for the Cinéma du Monde fund, 56 bilateral co-production agreements and a €4.5 million investment in the Eurimages schemes. Public funding for co-production represents a total of €12.5 million. In the past four years, 208 films from 72 foreign nations were supported thanks to the Cinéma du Monde grant. And along with soft money available via funding schemes and agreements, a network of private French partners is beginning to emerge: TV, sales agents, producers, distributors, Soficas - a large group of film professionals who all increase the degree of leverage with around €37 million worth of annual investments.

Of course, co-productions are linked to territorial expenditure, and funds cannot rely solely on the availability of soft and private funding to be attractive. “Discussions with my director didn’t start off about money, but rather with my artistic vision,” stated Laurence Clerc, who produced Sieranevada [+see also:
film review
Q&A: Cristi Puiu
film profile
 by Cristi Puiu (Alcatraz Films). “My sound is French, he told me the first time we met.” And as Michel Plazanet pointed out, “The quality of technicians makes working with France very appealing.”

Even if Cannes can shine a little too brightly, when it comes to world cinema and co-production opportunities, France is a genuinely golden country, with tangible talents and assets. When asked if it can continue to prosper, the deputy director of international affairs began to broach the additional topic of film development: “Italy and Germany are the only two possibilities for development at the moment, but it is something we are thinking about, although it would be difficult to manage. It would probably only be a possibility with certain countries.” Long live the French co-production system!

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