France produced 239 feature films in 2020


– The French film industry weathered the pandemic storm, managing to maintain around 80% of its normal production level last year, despite funding and co-productions hit

From Africa with love by Nicolas Bedos, which cost 18.35 M €, the biggest budget for a French film labeled in 2020

Despite the very heavy impact of the first wave of the health crisis, French cinema has nonetheless succeeded in demonstrating its strong resilience, as evidenced by the results of French film production in 2020 published by the CNC.

With 239 labeled feature films including 190 French initiative films (FIF – 62 fewer than in 2019) and 49 minority productions (50 fewer), it is true that French film production fell by 20.6% in 2020 compared to the previous one. year, but nevertheless, the result remains quite remarkable (in large part thanks to the various exceptional support mechanisms put in place by the French authorities) in conditions which saw filming in France completely stopped for an entire quarter and the resumption of activities made all the more complicated by the health and safety recommendations for filming in the country and the constraints on the normal functioning of international co-productions. The number of foreign filming days for FIF thus plunged 47.4% to 677 days.

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In total, 88 French international co-productions were approved in 2020 (compared to 116 the previous year) with 39 foreign countries: 39 French majority (16 less than the previous year) and 49 French minority (12 less than in 2019 ). Investments in this area were particularly affected by the pandemic, falling to € 276.04 million (i.e. 45.8% less than in 2019): € 122.79 million from French source and € 153.25 million from source foreign.

Last year, the main foreign partners of French cinema were Belgium (19 FIF and nine minority titles), Germany (nine FIF and five minority), Italy (three FIF and seven minority), Spain ( two FIFs and five minority interests) and Switzerland (six FIFs). Note also six French minority productions with Greece.

On the financing side, investments fell to € 783.9 million (down 29.8% compared to 2019), including € 643.67 million injected into FIFs. Result: the average budget of FIFs continues to fall and now stands at 3.39 million euros (the lowest level for more than 25 years; compare for example with the figure of 5.47 million euros d ‘ten years ago).

The breakdown of budgets gives us an informative overview, because only FIFs with budgets between € 4m and € 5m are up compared to the previous year (19 in 2020, compared to 9 in 2019). The number of FIFs with a budget of over € 15m and between € 7m and € 10m remained the same as in 2019 (6 and 13 respectively). On the other hand, the FIFs for the 10-15 M €, 5-7 M € and 1-2 M € tranches have fallen sharply (from 17 to 7 for the first, from 34 to 18 for the second, and from 35 to 17 for the latter), while tranches below € 1m (from 74 to 69) and € 2-4m have decreased to a lesser extent. This overall picture seems to indicate that the investments are grouped together on very precise levels for each category of films and that the intermediate layers of each level are somewhat neglected.

The analysis of funding sources for FIFs shows a clear drop of 31% (to € 80.09 million) in investments resulting from mandates (theatrical distribution, video releases and international sales) which now finance 12% of the budgets of films, against 8% for public funding (automatic and selective support from the CNC, regional support). Producers cover 38.1% of budgets themselves, and TV channel investments fell 23.4% last year to € 201.55m (but still represent 31.3% of budgets). The remainder of FIF funding is provided by Soficas (4.4%) and foreign contributions (5.9%).

Investments by television channels in 2020 were spread over 127 films (119 FIF and eight minority films), ie the lowest level since 1996. The place of this historic pillar of French cinema financing, Canal +, has further diminished with its investments down 27.9% to € 76.64 million (for 86 films including 78 FIF, against a total of 120 in 2019) while its pre-purchases still amounted to € 178.73 million in 2015. As for the other pay-TV channels, OCS contributed € 23.4 million in investments (for 24 feature films including 23 FIF) and for Ciné + € 12.96 million (for 94 films including 88 FIF).

Funding for free channels also fell by 23.8% for a total of € 92.69 million and 91 films financed (including 86 FIF), with TF1 (€ 17.30 million for eight films), France 2 (33.06 M € on 30 titles), France 3 (17.61 M € on 24 films), M6 (10.9 M € on 6 films) and Arte France (7.29 M € on 19 feature films). For their part, the free channels recently created by TNT have invested 6.53 million euros in 27 pre-purchased films, which are divided into 11 films for C8, ten for TMC and six for W9.

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(Translated from French)

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