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Tax breaks boost French production

Films produced rise to 228

French film production powered up in 2007, both in terms of the number of films produced and financing.

The number of French nationality pic productions rose from 203 in 2006 to 228, the second highest production output in a decade after 2005, when France turned out 240 films.

Whether the French market can digest such production levels is, however, a moot question.

The rise in production levels is largely explained by a big bounce in French majority international co-productions, which increased from 37 films in 2006 to 53 in 2007.

Up from 127 to 133, the number of 100% French productions stayed roughly level, but total film investment sourced from France rocketed up 14% to $1.4 billion.

“The most obvious explanation is that new French tax breaks, introduced in 2006 but settling in in 2007, have raised the level of public investment in France,” said Jonathan Davis, senior advisor to the Copenhagen Think Tank.

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Increased French state funding will have facilitated French-led productions. Investment — whether from France or abroad — in 100% French productions or majority French co-productions fired up 17% to Euros 1 billion ($1.48 billion) in 2007.

The only downturn last year was in minority French international co-production investment.

The number of minority co-productions held, up from 39 to 42, but investment, French or foreign, in foreign-led pics dropped 32% to $281 million. 2006’s figure was boosted by two heavy-weight international co-productions with minority French financing: the $68 million “Last Legion,” and Peter Webber’s $84 million “Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask.”