Elaborating on culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon's presentation of France's 2004 cultural budget in late September, France's National Cinema Center (CNC) has issued its funding details for the coming year.

As previously noted on ScreenDaily.com the overall budget for film and television jumps to Euros 504.3m for 2004. That figure represents a 5.87% rise in funds coming from France's Compte de Soutien (a revolving fund made up of taxes on cinema tickets, video and broadcasters) to Euros 475.65m, with the remaining Euros 28.62m coming from the culture ministry.

Most notable is the increase coming from the video sector - taxes from which rose dramatically to Euros 40m from Euros 18m the previous year.

The burgeoning DVD market saw a new tax implemented in July of this year which accounts in part for the staggering 122% rise in Compte de Soutien revenues from the sector.

While CNC president David Kessler noted that 2003 had so far been "a very bad year for the box office" with current figures showing a projected decline of 5.6% over the year to 175 million admissions, he pointed out: "It's still to early to tell if it's just an isolated problem or if it is a structural problem" He added, however, that 2004 should return to 2002 levels with a total of 185 million tickets sold.

The Compte de Soutien itself, which helps to feed the film industry via automatic (revolving) aid and selective (re-imburseable) aid, shows an increase to Euros 246.79m, up 7.7% from last year. Significantly, the advance on receipts scheme - which is made up of funds doled out to productions based on selection by committee - will rise to Euros 93.9m - up 12.9%.

Kessler talked up the fact that France will install a new tax credit scheme, the credit-impot, a means to help stem runaway production as an important step in French film financing. The plan goes into effect in January and should give a needed lift to local technicians and post-production facilities.