French unions rally to defend CNC

Senate committee pushes for $175 mil cut in revenue

Gaul’s movie unions issued a joint statement Wednesday protesting against a proposal to divert $175 million of the revenue due to go to film support body Centre National de la Cinematographie to state coffers.

This year’s booming French box office results, up 9.2% in the past 12 months, means the CNC should receive an extra $234 million in 2011 from taxes on tickets, in addition to taxes on TV channels, VOD and film-related products.

However, the Senate’s finance committee has suggested that $175 million of this go to offset Gaul’s $160 billion budget deficit — a measure that the Senate will begin to consider today.

The unions say the cut will risk CNC’s three-year plan to earmark $168 million to digitize 1,500 screens in small cinemas, announced in September.

“If adopted, this bill would have catastrophic consequences on the funding of French film and TV creation … and it would hurt the CNC’s capacity to handle the digital conversion,” said the statement, released by producers and filmmakers’ unions APC, ARP, SPI and UPF.

The finance committee’s Philippe Marini said the cut would not diminish the CNC’s resources, but would rather limit the increase in funds to $59.3 million, 7.6% up on this year’s $735 million budget.

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