Magazine article Screen International

France's CNC Reveals 2012 Production Figures

Magazine article Screen International

France's CNC Reveals 2012 Production Figures

Article excerpt

Record number of films made amid falling investment. Independent producers sound alarm over finance squeeze.French film production hit record levels in 2012 despite a drop in local and foreign investment, France's National Cinema Centre (CNC) revealed in its annual cinema production report.The CNC said it had approved 279 feature-length pictures in 2012. In total, 209 of the pictures were "films of French initiative" (FFI) - 150 of which were 100% financed in France and 59 of which were majority French co-productions. The remaining 70 pictures were foreign majority co-productions.Practically all French productions seek CNC approval because it is a prerequisite for tapping into the body's system of selective and automatic support -- only one or two micro-budget pictures do not apply - so the resulting data is a good indicator of what is going on in the production sector.Despite the rise in films to 279 pictures from 272 in 2011, budget estimates indicated that overall investment dropped by 3.4% to [euro]1.34b ($1.72m) in 2012, from [euro]1.39b ($1.78b) in 2011, mainly due to falls in broadcaster investment."The production scene remained lively despite the increasingly tense financial context tense," said CNC president Eric Garandeau."There were a record number of films but investment dropped and 2013 doesn't promise to be particularly joyful," he added, explaining broadcaster investment was expected to drop further in 2013 due to advertising losses and, in the case of the state broadcasters, public spending cuts.The CNC's head of research Benoit Danard said the higher number of productions was due mainly to a rise in feature-length documentaries and animations. In total, 42 documentaries and 12 animation pictures were approved in 2012, against 37 and 10 in 2011.The rise in animation features was particularly noteworthy, said Danard, because 10 of the 12 pictures were majority French productions, against just five in 2011. These pictures ranged from comedian Jamel Debbouze's [euro]30m caveman caper Pourquoi j'ai (pas) mangé mon pere to the [euro]4m Phantom Boy, the latest film from the makers of the Oscar nominated A Cat in Paris, Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol.Budget breakdownBreaking down the investment figures, the CNC study showed that investment in French productions dropped by 5.5% to [euro]1.07b.Total French investment fell to [euro]1.03b, with input into FFI's dipping to [euro]966m from [euro]1.01b. Foreign investment into FFIs fell to [euro]98.7m from [euro]118.2mThe figures also revealed an increased polarisation in the budget spread for French productions with the number of films budgeted at less than [euro]1m rising to 58 against 47 in 2011 and the number of films costing over [euro]15m increasing to 18 against 12 in 2011.The number of pictures in the [euro]4-7m range fell to 25 against 38. The average budget fell 6.5% to [euro]5.1m, against [euro]5.45m in 2011.In another indicator that productions were being financially squeezed, FFI shooting days in France fell by 11.8% in 2012 to 6,064 days in total - with the average film shoot lasting 37 days, the lowest duration in a decade.Broadcaster investment fallsA key factor weighing on the local production sector in 2012, especially for medium budget productions, was the drop in broadcaster investment in film.Overall, broadcaster investment fell by 5.6% to [euro]359.02m.Pay-TV channel investments dipped by 1.2% to [euro]231m, mainly due to the closure of the Canal Plus-owned TPS Star in 2012. …

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