Overall film investment was up 23.1% in 2015, while investment from French TV broadcasters was up 29.7%.
French film production rebounded in 2015, with overall investment rising 23.1% to $1.3b (€1.2b) year-on-year, according to the annual production report of France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC).
According to the study, published on Tuesday (April 5), the body approved 300 films in 2015, 42 more than in 2014.
The overall investment figure of $1.3b, which represents an increase in spending of $260m (€230m) year-on-year, was a marked improvement on 2014 when investment fell by 20% to its lowest level in 13 years.
The number of films lead-produced by French productions (described by CNC as ‘films of French initiative’) rose by 15% to 234 films, which saw investment rise by 28.1% to $1.1b (€1.02b), on a par with 2013.
The body said the increase was driven by international investment, which rose 117% year-on-year, as well as a rise in spending by French broadcasters.
The CNC figures showed that at least half the films of French initiative had budgets of less than €4m. There were 86 productions budgeted at between $1.1m (€1m) and $4.5 m (€4m) and another 64 titles quoting budgets of less than €1m.
There were ten productions with budgets exceeding $16.9m (€15m).
In a sign of France’s strong co-production culture, just under 50% of the approved films were co-productions. In total, there were 142 co-productions, 36 more than last year.
Within this figure, 76 were majority-French co-productions.
Belgium remained France’s key partner for French majority co-productions, co-operating on 31 such films, followed by Germany (11), Canada (10) and Switzerland (4).
The territory was also the top partner for productions in which France had a minority stake, with 17 such projects, followed by Italy (12), Germany (6) and Spain (5). There were just three official co-productions between France and the UK in 2015.
TV investment rises
In an interesting development, investment by French broadcasters rose 29.7% to $427m (€377m), with investments in 191 films, representing 63% of the titles approved by the CNC.
Investment by free-to-air channels grew by 39.5% to $177m (€157m), its highest level in a decade.
Pay-TV investment grew 23.5% to $251m (€220m), with involvement in 168 films.
Canal+ remained a key investor in French cinema, pre-buying 128 films in 2015, up 42.7% on 2014. Its investment increased by 24.3% to $201m (€178m).
The study is based on data drawn from applications to the CNC for its seal of approval, or agrément, a prerequisite for tapping into its funding programmes as well as those of other state-backed bodies and some of the broadcasters.