French Film Heritage Goes Digital

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by Sydney Levine
April 8, 2012 10:51 AM
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From Cineuropa by Fabien Lemercier  

French is doing extremely well at the moment - Harvey Weinstein recently called it a “golden age” - but this is not only due to the success of new French films in cinemas and at award ceremonies, or even a high rate in production and admissions. French authorities are also reacting incredibly fast to adapt the industry to a digital world. With changing consumer demands, the development of legal Video on Demand (VoD) platforms is booming, both to figh online piracy and to provide new venues for the great films of France’s past, indispensable to educate the next generations of cinema enthusiasts. The French state has understood this, and has lauched a great digitization and conservation (for short and feature films made before 2000) project via the French National Centre for Cinema and the moving image (CNC) with €400m for six years. The European Commission gave its go-ahead to the project, that will focus especially on films with limited commercial prospects. Impressive catalogue holders (Gaumont, Pathé,StudioCanal,Studio 37, EuropaCorp, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels, and SNC for M6) for whom a rise in earnings seems in order, have another access path to digitization through the €100m of a Grand Emprunt, or Investissement d’Avenir, started in 2010 by the French state. As part of this, Gaumont this week signed its first important agreement with 270 films to be digitized in four years. The French state will invest €10m via the Caisse des Dépôts in exchange for a part of the earnings from the films’ exploitation over 15 years. (Translated from French)

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