French cinema at TIFF: Day 5

French cinema at TIFF: Day 5

To coincide with TIFF (September 10–20, 2020), UniFrance, in partnership with Le Film Français, offers each day, over five days, a look at the French films, including shorts, presented in Toronto as seen by their exporters. Unifrance also provides an update on the current state of play for French films outside France and the situation in France.


  • Industry Selects section: Lovers by Nicole Garcia
  • French films anticipated worldwide
  • Fresh News from France: How the state is supporting the reboot of the French film industry

Industry Selects section

Lovers by Nicole Garcia

 After its world premiere in Competition at Venice, Lovers, Nicole Garcia’s ninth feature (produced by Les Films Pelléas), was selected for TIFF’s Industry Selects section. For Hannah Horner and Julia Schulte, from France tv distribution, the international sales strategy clearly started with the screening in Venice (doubled by an online screening for those who could not travel), which allowed them to take the pulse of the market. The film had been pre-sold on script in a few territories (Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Brazil), but the prestige of an official selection is essential for the media impact it generates. Since the premiere of the film in Venice, many negotiations have been underway. For Hannah Horner, "buyers are more than ever aware of the state of play, with a willingness for the market to rebound back to what it was before, as if to compensate for the drop in activity over the past several months." Julia Schulte adds that many shoots and post-productions have been postponed, "everyone is waiting for the dynamic to get back on track, but for some markets, it remains complicated."  For her, "Lovers possesses a universality linked to its subject, passionate love," and its aura of a high-end French arthouse film will allow it to easily find its niche in cinemas. She also points out that the film features some rather classic thriller elements, and hence, it "also attracts quite a lot of interest from TV channels, which today, in certain markets such as Germany, are attracting the interest of distributors." Scheduled for release in France in December, releases will soon follow in French-speaking territories, then in the rest of the world in 2021, with many invitations in the meantime from festivals, where Nicole Garcia's presence continues to be much prized.

French films anticipated worldwide

 One of the strengths of French cinema lies in its variety and diversity and it is this factor that will enable it to maintain its place in various foreign markets. Among the comedies, one of the strongest export genres, which are releasing in the latter part of the year, we can mention the following: Aline by Valérie Lemercier, Delete History by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern, Mama Weed by Jean-Paul Salomé (photo), The Speech by Laurent Tirard, French Tech by Bruno Podalydès, and The Big Hit by Emmanuel Courcol. Other titles, selected at festivals, will launch their international careers: Night Shift by Anne Fontaine, Summer of 85 by François Ozon, and Gagarine, the debut feature by Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh.

Animation fans can look forward to Calamity by Rémi Chayé, Petit Vampire by Joann Sfar, and Yakari, A Spectacular Journey by Toby Genkel and Xavier Giacometti, and families can also enjoy Poly by Nicolas Vanier. And to finish, there’s also action with BAC Nord by Cédric Jimenez and fantasy thanks to Douglas Attal and his Comment je suis devenu super-héros. The coming fall and winter will also be punctuated by launches in different territories of the successes of the past few months, such as Divorce Club by Michaël Youn, The Specials by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, An Officer and a Spy by Roman Polanski, How to be a Good Wife by Martin Provost, The Truth by Hirokazu Kore-eda, The Translators by Régis Roinsard, and Arab Blues by Manele Labidi.

Fresh News from France from Le Film Français

How the state is supporting the reboot of the French film industry
By Sarah Drouhaud

After the emergency measures this spring, both general and sectoral, followed by the setting up of a public fund managed by the CNC covering part of the Covid risk so film shoots can resume, in early September the government announced a €2 billion recovery plan for culture.

Under this plan, the CNC will receive €165 million, including €60 million to offset its tax losses in 2020, and €100 million for measures in favor of production, distribution, theatrical exhibition, and export. In addition, the cinema industry will be able to draw on a €400 million envelope open to cultural sectors over 5 years in a future state investment plan for digital projects. And the public audiovisual sector will benefit from a special allocation (€70 million). In addition, given the maintenance of the rules of physical distancing in movie theaters, cinemas will have access to a fund to compensate for their operating losses.
Planned before the lockdown and even more crucial afterwards, the other major topic for relaunching the film industry is the transposition of the European AVSMD and Cab/Sat directives, and the Directive on copyright and related rights to better redefine the situation regarding platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. After the delay on this subject, Emmanuel Macron has committed to their entry into force on January 1, 2021. Financing obligations will be imposed for audiovisual and film creation, including a share in independent production, and will respect French copyright law, with a system comparable to that which exists for television channels. And the industry must re-discuss the release chronology that regulates the broadcasting/distribution for films post-theatrical presentation, in order to shorten those of SVOD.

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