“Film promotion abroad. UNIFRANCE experience” a report by Joël Сhapron in the course of KMW 2019

14 August 2019, 14:48

Joël Chapron, an expert of film distribution from UNIFRANCE, is going to share secrets of promotion of French cinema abroad with audience of KYIV MEDIA WEEK on September 17.

Joël Chapron is UNIFRANCE Central and Eastern European manager for the promotion of French cinema abroad. For more than twenty years he has been working with the Cannes Film Festival, drawing up a short-list of films from the CIS and Eastern Europe. He had been doing the same job for Locarno Film Festival from 2006 until 2012. Mr. Chapron is the author and co-author of plenty of books and articles related to French cinematography, film industry financing, promotion, distribution, and state support. His works have been translated into many languages. 

In his special report at KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2019 Joël Chapron will talk about the creation of an image of a country’s cinema and the role of the state support in this process. Using the example of UNIFRANCE, he will explain the main tasks of the organization for national cinema promotion, elaborate on the special events organized by UNIFRANCE and the principles of providing them with financial or technical support. He will cover two main components of a national cinema image – film distribution and promotion. In addition, Mr. Chapron will consider DVD and VOD as options for international distribution of the films that don’t get to the theaters and role of short films in national cinema promotion. Joël Chapron will also discuss the image of other countries' cinema in France, and whether it can be built further, explaining the role of filmmakers and state support in this process.

Mr. Chapron will build his talk referencing the French model of film financing. It was introduced over 70 years ago and has not really changed ever since, besides slight adaptations to the new market reality. French film industry during the entire process of its establishment was supported by state authorities and protected by the law. Being introduced step-by-step, the system faced disagreement and antagonism from the domestic and international market players, such as American film industry. Despite the hard struggle, positions of French cinema were defeated, proving that culture is not a product of the economy. Then the concept of “cultural exception” appeared: when negotiations are underway at the governmental level, any issue can be a compromise except for the cinema and television.  

UNIFRANCE is an organization which was created in 1949 by French state authorities, in particular CNC (Centre national du cinéma et del'image animée). It is in charge of promoting French cinema throughout the world. The association has nearly 1000 members: producers of feature films and shorts, exporters, sales agents, directors, actors, authors (screenwriters) and talent agents. UNIFRANCE regularly holds various events, devoted to French cinema, which serve the three fundamental objectives of promotion: action with regard to buyers, media, and the public. In general, there are 17 events, organized by UNIFRANCE, among those are Acapulco French Film Festival, Berlin French Film Week, Rendez–Vous With French Cinema a New York and others.

Besides, UNIFRANCE facilitates participation of French films at the top world film events and grants specific aid for distributors to support efforts for discovering new markets and make inroads in foreign territories. Festivals create resonance for French cinema, since circulation at the major global film events boost the international lifecycle of French films and has a genuine positive impact on their sales and commercial distribution. 

One of the UNIFRANCE’s areas of focus is French short films promotion. UNIFRANCE’s Short Film Department has become an essential link between French directors, producers and foreign festival programmers, for it gives the opportunity for French short films to be represented in more than 100 events and 40 countries around the world, whether exclusively dedicated to short films (Tampere, Vila Do Conde, Uppsala, Tokyo Short Shorts, Sydney Flickerfest, etc.), or top-flight international festivals like Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Locarno and Rotterdam. Besides, great attention is paid for the short film distribution support in digital. UNIFRANCE continues to enrich the Short Film Gallery, its B2B platform for French short films, designed to optimize their visibility and to facilitate their export. The Short Film Gallery acts as a springboard between French production and the international market, allowing all distribution channels (festivals, theatrical, TV, VoD, online, etc.) to discover French shorts and to program them. Festivals in partnership with UNIFRANCE have access to the Short Film Gallery, where they can find full information on all recent productions, along with details of broadcasters and distributors. In addition to that, during the festivals and panoramas organized by UNIFRANCE, online platform offers web-users worldwide the opportunity to discover 10 short films subtitled into 10 languages. 

Ukrainian film industry is undergoing a new raise throughout the last few years, showing consistent progress in quantity, variety and quality of local audiovisual product not least because of state support and a new Law on filmmaking adopted in 2017.The development of effective distribution models that could promote local audiovisual product to other markets is a point of wide discussion between producers, filmmakers and industry representatives. Therefore, experience of UNIFRANCE, the organization for promotion of French cinema outside of the country, may serve as a great example in the search for a successful distribution model.

Presentation “Film promotion abroad. UNIFRANCE experience” by Joël Chapron will take place in the course 9thinternational media forum KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2019 on September 17, at Hyatt Regency Kyiv (Ukraine).

The section is supported by Ukrainian State Film Agency.  

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