Francophone production rose to 20 films last year

LONDON — Film production by Belgium’s French-speaking producers rose slightly in 2006, the annual report by the Francophone Cinema and Audiovisual Centre revealed Tuesday.

According to the dossier, 20 pics, 11 of which were majority Belgian productions, were completed in 2006 against 15 the previous year.

Total audiovisual production funds made available by the Ministry for the Francophone Community and French-language broadcasters also edged up to Euros 27.1 million ($34.9 million), against Euros 24.8 million ($32 million) in 2005.

The funds were awarded to a record 117 audiovisual projects, including 22 feature films. Some 356 projects were submitted for consideration. The amount of direct state funding for feature films increased slightly to Euros 5.6 million ($7.2 million).

The study also revealed that Belgium’s audiovisual tax shelter had generated Euros 35.8 million ($46.3 million) since its launch in 2002, representing roughly 10% of the cumulative production budget of Euros 346 million ($448 million).

In terms of distribution, 27 majority-produced Belgian films hit local cinemas in 2006, 19 of which were Francophone. The audience for local French-speaking fare grew slightly to 475,000 admissions against 457,857 in 2005. Market share remained low, however, at just 2%.

Francophone Belgian films fared better in neighboring France where they drew 7.65 million spectators against 6.4 million in 2005, garnering some 4.6% of the market.

On the international film fest circuit, French-language Belgian films picked up some 100 prizes at various events around the world.

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