In the context of the increasing globalization of the theatrical market, and paying particular attention to all of the stages in the career of films from production to their theatrical–and now online–distribution, Unifrance is taking advantage of this year’s Cannes Film Festival to focus interest on boosting the development of international co-productions, an industry in which France plays a leading role.
This is one of Unifrance’s key areas of cooperation with its partners, as shown by agreements signed with over fifty countries around the world. Co-productions also serve to improve the circulation of films in partner countries.
This constant collaboration between countries is clearly seen in the various sections of the 64th Cannes Film Festival. Six films co-produced with France feature in the Official Competition, while around thirty are selected in the other festival sections. Co-production partners include Germany, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, India, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK, and Uruguay.
Films such as The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke, A Screaming Man by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, and Certified Copy by Abbas Kiarostami are examples of co-productions that have won major awards at the last two Cannes Film Festivals, and which have gone on to enjoy successful international careers.
The strong presence of co-productions at Cannes this year reflects the high level of current international partnerships undertaken by French production companies. In 2010, 118 of the 261 films produced involved at least one foreign co-production partner (against 93 films in 2009 and 95 in 2008). Producers from 36 countries joined forces with French production companies in 2010.
A total of €692.44 million was allocated to financing international co-productions in 2010. French investment in these films topped €343 million (with an average rise of 6.3% per year since 2001), while investment by other countries was €349.28 million in 2010.
French majority co-productions
60 films were majority co-produced by France 2010 (against 45 in 2009 and 51 in 2008). Foreign investors’ share in majority international co-productions was €93.6 million, against €75.5 million in 2009.
In 2010, the average budget for films majority co-produced by France was €6.09 million, showing an average increase of 3.1% per year since 2001.
As was the case in the past four years, the major co-production partners for projects majority produced by France were Belgium (28 films), Germany (10 films), and Italy (7 films). Canada and Luxembourg also played a significant role, participating in 5 co-productions in 2010.
Films majority co-produced by foreign partners
With 58 titles produced in 2010, the number of films majority co-produced by other countries in which France participated as a minority partner rose by 10 titles compared to 2009, bearing witness to the high level of involvement of French production companies in foreign film production. French investment in films majority co-produced by foreign partners increased from €39.89 million in 2009 to €71.19 million in 2010 (up 78.5 %).
The average budget for films majority co-produced by foreign countries rose to €5.64 million in 2010, against €3.57 million in 2009, and €5.26 million in 2008.
In 2010, France’s most active co-production partners for films majority co-produced by foreign countries were Italy (14 films), Germany (13 films) and Belgium (11 films). It is worth noting that the first official Franco-Chinese co-production was approved in 2010 following the signing of a co-production agreement with China on September 25, 2010.
Bilateral financial co-productions
These are co-productions without artistic or technical support from the minority co-producing country, as opposed to standard co-productions. France has signed agreements for this category of co-productions with three countries: Italy, Spain, and the UK.
Of the 8 bilateral financial co-productions undertaken in 2010, one was a majority French production and 7 were minority co-productions.
Films produced under the European Co-production Agreement
41 of the 118 co-productions accredited in 2010 were produced under the European Co-production Agreement, accounting for over one third of productions. 16 of these films were majority produced by France, while 25 were majority produced by other countries. France’s participation was solely financial in the case of 16 of the 25 films majority produced by other countries.