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CNC Greenlights $10.4 Million Loan for French Sales Shingles

Each loan will be capped at $785,576 with a 4% interest rate

After lobbying for nearly two years, French film export bizzers have obtained from the CNC (national film and TV board) the launch of a selective €8 million ($10.4 million) fund to help them acquire, promote and scout for ambitious movies abroad.

The CNC has tapped the IFCIC to set up the financial initiative, which will work as a refundable loan and be available to sales companies based in France.

Each loan will have a 4% interest rate and be capped at $785,576 for a duration ranging between 12 and 36 months. There will also be a possibility for the amount of the refund to be reduced between 5% and 25%, depending on the quality and success of the program that’s been financed.

“The sales sector has always been excluded from the CNC’s funding mechanisms and we found it unfair since sales agents take risks to acquire films and participate in their financing,” said Laurent Danielou, prexy of ADEF, which worked hand-in-hand with the CNC and IFCIC for two years to make it happen. The timing is perfect for this new initiative, Danielou said. “We need to be supported more than ever because the market is getting increasingly competitive,  minimum guarantees have gone down and we have to work at least twice as much to close deals.

“Plus, the fund is more advantageous than credits offered by loan agencies.”

A committee comprising industry players (including CNC, IFCIC reps, sales agents, producers and credit agencies execs) will gather three times a year to select the companies that will benefit from the funds.  The first meeting is scheduled in September.

France boasts one of the world’s strongest and most diverse network of sales companies, ranging from such vertically integrated groups as Gaumont, Studiocanal, SND, Pathe and EuropaCorp; to indie players like Wild Bunch, Rezo Films, Bac Films, Le Pacte and Films Distribution and Kinology. These companies often play a key role in giving exposure to world cinema titles as well as high-profile indies. In many cases, the lineups of these outfits comprise many international films that play at film festivals and travel worldwide.

Wild Bunch for instance had seven films playing at Cannes, notably James Grey’s “The Immigrant” and Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” shared with Gaumont.  Studiocanal, meanwhile, had the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” winner of Cannes’ Grand Prix.

So far this year, Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” pictured, sold by Paris-based Les Films du Losange, is France’s top film export, having grossed $29.2 million  since its theatrical bow in late 2012.

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