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France’s National Film Board to Help Film Distributors, Exhibitors Battle Coronavirus

Paris, France
Photo by Best Shot Factory/REX/Shutterstock

In France, which boasts one of the world’s most subsidized film industries, the national film board (CNC) has teamed up with the culture and labor ministers to take steps aimed at helping exhibitors and distributors ride out the coronavirus storm.

Under the plan set up with the org, exhibitors will have the option of keeping their theaters open within half of their seating capacities, even in regions that are hardest hit by coronavirus.

Exhibitors and distributors will also be allowed to postpone the payment of social charges and will have access to loans and options to repay their existing credits.

Meanwhile, the government will also help companies that are forced to reduce their workforce or have to slow down their activity by covering part of the indemnities given to employees who have either lost their jobs or are working less hours.

The CNC president Dominique Boutonnat, a former film producer and financier, said the org is “pursuing a daily dialogue with representatives of all sectors of the industry and will stand by companies that will face difficulties.”

A flurry of film releases have been delayed by local distributors and U.S. studios in France, including Warner Bros., Sony, Gaumont, Le Pacte and Bac Films, among many others. The box office, however, hasn’t seen a major drop as the country’s theaters are still open with the exception of a couple venues.

The government has issued a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people but has not yet placed the country in quarantine as in Italy.

France, however, is the second most impacted country in Europe. French president Emmanuel Macron will give a televised speech Thursday evening to address the pandemic and possibly unveil new measures.

The country has seen many high-profile events canceled since the beginning of the month, notably international TV showcase MipTV and the festival Series Mania. The Cannes Film Festival, which is set for mid-May, is hanging in the balance.