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Studies & Market Reports

01 December 2022 à 11:39

2021 results for French short films and immersive works for export and in international festivals

The export of French short films and immersive works generated respectively €0.77 million and €1.11 million in 2021, a historical record! More than 650 titles were selected by a hundred or so international festivals, and won more than 200 awards.

Internationally, the French short film industry has always distinguished itself by its originality, audacity, and dynamism. Unifrance has always paid particular attention to short formats, as they allow for artistic expressions that are both unique and multifaceted, thanks to a pool of young filmmakers and French professionals who are particularly inventive and innovative.

The analysis presented here was traditionally included in the annual review, but in 2021 the expanded scope of the report warranted a separate publication.

The revenues and number of sales of French short films (€0.77 million and 2,925 respectively) and immersive works (€1.11 million and 266) abroad have constantly increased and in 2021 reached the highest levels since these studies were conducted (2009 and 2017 respectively). In both cases, proportionally, the number of transactions increased more than the revenues compared to 2020, which inevitably implies a decrease in the average sale price. Two immersive works accounted for more than €100,000 each in revenues, and 10 short films for more than €10,000 each, while in total, 12 titles tallied more than 20 sales each. In terms of short films, fiction and animation continued to share the limelight on the international scene; animation was once again the leader when it came to immersive works, followed by documentary.

International festivals and organizations continued to be the most numerous buyer groups. VOD platforms continued to grow steadily and, for the first time, two platforms (Netflix and Google) were among the top five foreign buyers of French shorts, while Oculus accounted for over a quarter of the export of immersive works. The latter were in the top export position to North America, while once again Western Europe proved to be the leading berth for short films.

The USA topped the rankings of foreign countries and investments even exceeded €100,000 (short films) and €600,000 (immersive works) for the first time! Although following different trajectories, the historical buyers of French shorts remained loyal, including Base Court, Be TV, Flix Snip, Interfilm Berlin, MODIband, Movistar+, Pacific Voice, and Shot TV. Belgium, Canada, South Korea, and Taïwan confirmed their status as key export markets for French immersive works.

Despite the health crisis that began in 2020 and which affected the entire sector, in 2021, French short films maintained their undisputed position on the international market thanks to their diversity, the range on offer, and the combined efforts of French distributors and producers who know how to adapt to constantly changing markets. 2021 would also prove to be more structured and dynamic for French immersive works on the international scene. The resumption of live festivals and LBE installations, the growth in the number of distributors closely linked to the structuring of the market, and the general increase in investments made by international buyers characterized the year under review.

For the first time, Unifrance is publishing a report on the selections and awards won at foreign festivals in which the organization is a partner. Festivals are an essential means of distributing French short films and immersive works internationally, especially in geographic regions without major, specialized historical buyers (such as television channels, distributors, and VOD platforms).

2021 presented very honourable results considering the slow return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Both in terms of the number of presentations (1,526) and awards (207), the short format was able to garner a good response from audiences and professionals in 107 events in 34 countries. This compares to 1,490 presentations and 187 awards at 97 festivals in 32 countries in 2020.

Immersive creation, which is much more modest in terms of the number of works circulating each year compared to short films, was nevertheless well represented in the major international festivals that develop XR sections, in particular Sundance, South by SouthWest, TribecaVenice, and the BFI London Film Festival.

Key indicators for French short films abroad in 2021

Exports

  • 769,073 in revenues, 2,925 sales, and 1,153 titles sold.
  • 666 buyers, of which Movistar+ (Spain) is the leader.
  • Animation and fiction represented more than 90% of total exports.
  • Vanille was the best performer in terms of revenues, while A Lynx in the Town was the best performer in terms of sales.
  • Western Europe (0.28 million) and the United States (0.12 million) were respectively the leading geographical region and the leading country in terms of revenues.

A Lynx in the TownA Lynx in the Town

In festivals

  • 638 French short films selected, 1,464 presentations in 92 international festivals.
  • 200 awards received.
  • Migrants was the leader in terms of number of awards, while Maalbeek was the leader in terms of number of presentations.

MaalbeekMaalbeek

Key indicators for French immersive works abroad in 2021

Exports

  • 1,107,641 in revenues, 266 sales, and 41 titles sold.
  • 115 buyers, of which Oculus (United States) was the leader.
  • Animation represented more than half of total exports.
  • Gloomy Eyes achieved the best performance in terms of revenues and number of sales.
  • North America (0.64 million) and the United States (0.62 million) were respectively the leading geographical region and the leading country in terms of revenues.

In festivals

  • 31 French immersive works selected, with 62 presentations in 21 international festivals.
  • 7 awards received.
  • Goliath: Playing With Reality was the leader in terms of number of awards.

Goliath: Playing With RealityGoliath: Playing With Reality

Since 2009, Unifrance has been analyzing the commercial distribution of French short films abroad. The analysis was expanded to include immersive works in 2017. The annual report focuses exclusively on the objective results of sales, title by title, declared by production and distribution companies. Festival rentals, sales to institutional players abroad, and rights royalties are also taken into account, as well as sales to certain French buyers operating internationally. In 2022, 372 companies responded to our request to participate in this study. The "festivals" analysis takes into account foreign festivals (excluding French and/or French-speaking film festivals) in which Unifrance is a partner and films of French nationality (with a French (co)producer) and considered "recent". As a film may be selected by more than one festival,  we have chosen to use the term "presentation" in the texts. Only official awards are taken into account, all collateral awards are therefore excluded.


Unifrance members can download the 2021 report about French short films for export and immersive works in international festivals below (in French). The report will be available to all on February 5, 2023.

Contact : Andrea Sponchiado

Latest update : 05 December 2022 à 11:39 CET

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Activities external to film production :  Distributor (short film)

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