French state film organisation the CNC is to extend its financing to support local producers working with international streamers.
Starting on January 1, French and European producers based in France can apply for state aid to produce projects pre-financed by a foreign platform, subject to local investment obligations.
In return for the funding, the CNC will put a limit on streamers’ complete buyouts of projects by capping the duration of the rights they can acquire for films and TV series.
Series or films financed with international streaming services or TV channels in France were previously not eligible for traditional state production aid.
The changes are an extra boost to France’s independent producers who are increasingly working with the platforms, particularly on local-language content. A June 2021 decree by the French government ruled that streamers must invest between 20-25% of their French revenue in local content.
The CNC has recently experimented with funding streamer projects. In November 2021, the CNC created an experimental €5m fund known as “the platform selective fund” to support projects produced by French executive producers and available on streaming platforms in France.
The CNC is adamant the aid to platform-directed projects will not change its current support system in place for film production. In a statement today (December 15), the CNC said the aid “is still intended for executive production companies established in France, not controlled by a non-European player.”
The state aid will be reserved for companies with “mostly European” management and “remains reserved for projects involving heritage works” that highlight French history or culture.
The CNC said it was capping the amount of time that streamers could hold on to rights to address the issue of films and series being repeatedly streamed across the globe with no royalty rights for content creators.
“This limitation will allow producers to obtain sustainable revenues from the exploitation of their projects in order to preserve their independence from these new players,” said the CNC.
The organisation said the move will benefit all creators and investors in a given project, “in particular the writers, who will be better remunerated by a maximum exploitation of the works.”
The CNC said the aid will make it possible “to strengthen - by diversifying - the financing of French and European creation.”
CNC President Dominique Boutonnat said the CNC’s aim “has always been to support creation, regardless of the medium of distribution.” He added: “This opening of the CNC’s support is the logical continuation of our process of integrating foreign players, platforms or channels, into our virtuous model, after their taxation and the implementation of their obligations to invest in production.”
Universal+ and Paramount+ are the latest streamers to launch in France, following in the footsteps of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+.
Disney+ has notably publicly challenged the country’s strict windowing laws and has threatened to pull its blockbuster releases from French theatres if the theatrical-to-streaming window isn’t reduced.
Most of France’s leading independent producers are now working with streamers.
Alain Goldman’s Légende Films produced Melanie Laurent’s thriller The Mad Woman’s Ball for Amazon Prime which recently won an International Emmy. Nolita Films produced The Lost Bullet and its sequel which have both topped Netflix’s film charts at home and internationally, in addition to 2022 breakout French-language hit No Limit that retained its number one spot in Netflix’s top 10 non-English language films for weeks earlier this year. Les Films du Kiosque produced Call My Agent! showrunner Fanny Herrero’s follow-up series Standing Up for Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video also recently highlighted its ambition to work closely with independent French producers by signing a four-year agreement at the end of November with France’s film industry unions to support independent projects.
Recent projects that have benefitted from the CNC’s selective aid fund include La Tête Dans Les Etoiles, an upcoming fiction from Charles Gillibert’s CG Cinema, Nouveaux Riches from Chi-Fou-Mi Productions, part of the expanding Mediawan Group, and 357 Films’ Drone Games headed to Prime Video along with Making Prod’s Escort Boys among others.
This article originally appeared on KFTVs sister site, Screendaily.