A new soft money scheme is being examined by French authorities, which could give local and foreign productions access to funding via a sale and leaseback system.
Similar to schemes already established in the UK, Germany and more recently Belgium, the 'credit-bail' could give producers a 20% rebate on the cost of their films.
Within the scheme - originally proposed by Jean-Pierre Leclerc in a report to France's CNC last February - a structure would be set up as a leasehold representing the various (likely governmental) investors. The leasehold would then buy 100% of a film from a producer via several instalments over the course of the production.
The producer would reimburse the leasehold in the form of rents paid out over two to three years with the buy-back of the film as the end result. However, the rents paid back would amount to only 80% of the total with the fiscal advantages benefiting both sides.
Both the producer and the leasehold would be able to amortise their investment over time to the tune of 100%. And, should the leasehold sell the film back to the producer for only 60% of its cost, s/he would then be exempt from capital gains tax.
As is the case in other countries with a sale and leaseback system in place, a clause would also be added that would create a points scale to decide how many elements of a film need to be French in order for it to qualify.
Although other European countries have incorporated similar systems which have been highly successful, France has lagged behind.
Now, however, as the tax shelter system of the Soficas loses some of its steam - some have ceased to exist in the past year and the overall system has come under criticism for its inefficiency - France's Finance Ministry could decide to use a sale and leaseback system as a compliment to the Soficas or an outright replacement.