France's national cinema centre, the CNC, has announced figures for Sofica funds to be pumped into production in 2004.

There are currently nine such tax shelters which collected Euros 40.99m in 2003. Under their obligation to invest 90% of annually raised funds, the Soficas will invest Euros 36.89m.

In 2002 Euros 35.14m was raised and put into 2003's production crop.

Soficas are tax-based financing initiatives often guaranteed by big groups like Gaumont and others.

The companies raise money by offering substantial tax write-offs to investors and reinvest funds in film and television via interest-bearing loans. A company or an individual which invests in a Sofica can write off up to 50% of tax on their investment, while individuals can invest up to 25% of their income with a 100% tax write-off.

For all intents and purposes, they act as private companies but may only invest in films that are approved by the CNC to receive this kind of support.

Often the funds raised by the Soficas are invested in big productions with a relatively minor amount going towards independent film. However, all qualifying films must be majority French, and in the French language but not necessarily shot in France.

Each Sofica takes a small percentage of rights to a film for a certain number of years. Per film investments range from $98,000-$488,000.

In the CNC press release, the organisation also notes the creation of 4 new Soficas: Cofinova, Carimage, Soficinema and Europacorp.