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Iranian Filmmakers Travel Study in Cinematic Centers of Paris



 

More than one third of France’s Centre national de la cinématographie is allocated to modernizing and renovating movie theaters.

“In order to build up our national cinema, the government of France established a unbiased support system for production and exhibition of French Films independent of state budget, and now it is harvesting the products of this scheme in TV networks and on cinema screens,” said Roland Husson, Director of European and International Affairs of the Centre national de la cinématographie (CNC) during the visit of the Iranian delegation.

Under the authority of France’s Ministry of Culture and Communication, National Cinema Center (CNC) is responsible for regulating, drafting and monitoring policies in the audiovisual sector, supervising the interaction of departments involved in film exhibition, production and distribution, as well as drafting support systems for the cinema of France.

Roland Husson further explained: “After WWII, the government of the United States of America offered some monetary assistance to Europe to reconstruct the establishments and structures, expecting Europeans to open their market to American products in return. This was a painful expectation for French intellectuals, as America, with its 300 year background, could not restore the theoretical and civilizational background of Europe. But at that time, Europe opened its market to compensate for Americans’ generosity.”

He further said: “We the French thought about of a solution and tried to save France by establishing two rules. First, any film (French or foreign) that goes up on the screen should pay tax (10% of the box office sales) to be allocated to the national cinema production; second, 60% of TV films should be either French or a joint production. And that’s how we were able to preserve the French culture, which is the foundation of French cinema.”

Husson explained: “In 2008, the production of French films went up 2% without imposing any restriction on screening Hollywood productions, while in the neighboring Italy, which once had a very strong cinema industry, the figure has gone down to half.” he further said: “In the 1980s, we felt threatened again by the growth of TV networks, because the cost of buying an American film is one tenth of producing a French one. So, we considered it again and regulated a 3-5 percent tax for airing any foreign film on TV networks, to be allocated as a financial aid for the production of French films. Also, all networks were required to invest and cooperate in national film production projects. CNC’s budget comes from these taxes and not from the state budget, and so the economic recession hasn’t had any negative effect on it. The 2009 budget of this organization (600 million Euros) shows a 3% increase from 2008.”
 
CNC Director of European and International Affairs added: “In 2005, the French government succeeded to include an article in an international convention. To deal with the free economic system which calls for exemption or reduction of product taxes, and because of the necessity of respecting cultural diversity, governments should be able to legislate taxes in support of cultural products. At first, France and Canada were the only advocates of the proposed article, but now more than 100 countries have joined in to support the audiovisual products of their culture.”

He went on: “The battle still goes on between the world and America; South Korea has been forced to lower the import taxes of audio-visual products to boost the sale of its own products like Samsung and Hyundai. We, however, will stay loyal to our cultural and artistic identity, with no censorship (but with age rating, of course), merely by enacting film production support taxes.

More than one third of the budget of the CNC is allocated to modernizing and renovating movie theaters, and the rate goes up based on the movie theater’s box office sale. Also, in remote areas providing adequate service for people is given priority. One of the new schemes of this organization is to equip all movie theaters of the country with digital screening system within the next 10 years. CNC will undertake 75% of the expenses, 85% in remote cities.

In the past year, France has produced 230 motion pictures, of which 75 were joint productions. We think first of French identity and then maintaining the global cultural diversity, which explains last year’s 75 joint production investments.

We have a program called ‘Fonds Sud’, a support fund for films made in developing countries. We pay for the post-production expenses of the films that have two co-producers, one French and one foreign.” 

There are 5400 movie theaters in France. Last year, 190 million people went to the movies. The price of cinema tickets in France varies from 5 to 11 Euros, but film distribution companies have devised monthly credit cards, with which the subscribers can watch all the films that go up on the screen during the month only for 20 Euros. 

CNC has 700 employees and it does not rely on government budget. The director is appointed by the President for an unlimited time. The organization has several decision making committees with members from producers, directors, actors and distributors guilds. Also, 80% of UniFrance’s budget is funded by this organization. 

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