Magazine article Screen International

Arte Cinema Gets Budget Boost amid Parent Channel's Revamp

Magazine article Screen International

Arte Cinema Gets Budget Boost amid Parent Channel's Revamp

Article excerpt

French state contribution to Franco-German broadcaster ARTE to increase by 7.3 percent in 2012 to [euro]270.2million as part of plan to bump-up audience figures and lure in younger viewers.

Arte Cinema is set to receive an extra [euro]500,000 a year for film production over the next five years, bringing its annual budget to [euro]9.5 million in 2012, the Paris-based outfit's head Michel Reilhac has revealed.

"In the current economic climate I guess it appears strange that a state-backed body like Arte Cinema is getting extra funding. It's the consequence of an overall budget increase for ARTE as part of a plan to re-launch the channel," said Reilhac.

The Franco-German broadcaster Arte, which started broadcasting in 1992, is set to be overhauled in the coming months in a campaign spearheaded by Veronique Cayla, the former Unifrance chief who was appointed president of the state-funded channel at the end of 2010.

The broadcaster's audience share has fallen from 3.1% in 2007 to 1.5% in 2011 amid the proliferation of digital television channels.

In a bid to reverse the trend, Cayla wants to restructure the broadcaster's schedule, lighten the content and draw in younger audiences through three new Internet platforms dedicated to cinema, ecology and history.

At present, Arte Cinema invests in 25 feature-length productions a year including three feature-length documentaries. Reilhac stressed that the company would remain committed to independent cinema amid the changes.

"Our remit hasn't changed. We're still interested in smaller films as well as first and second features. We're not scared to take on works that might be deemed as difficult and haven't yet got a distributor," he said. "We see this as part of our role. We also feel that by endorsing a smaller film we can sometimes give it a boost."

Reilhac's deputy Remi Burah, who oversees Arte Cinema's budget, said that the extra funding would probably be invested in one feature-length animation production.

"We have decided that we would prefer to make a big investment on a bigger budget film rather than dividing the extra funding between several titles," said Burah. "We've made no secret of the fact that we would like to invest in a feature-length animation and it is our hope we will be able to use the extra money to do that. …

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