Unifrance discusses the challenges of the joint promotion of cinema and audiovisual in Paris

– New international strategies, including soft power, support for talents, producers and exporters on all media and digital communication, have been analyzed in detail

Co-presidents Serge Toubiana, general manager Daniela Elstner and co-president Hervé Michel, at the Unifrance event (© Philippe Quaisse/Unifrance)

“You have to dare, experiment, not rest on your laurels.” One year after its merger (read the news) with TV France International (which supported French audiovisual productions around the world), Unifrance, which previously only managed the promotion of French cinema internationally, unveiled in Paris a statement of progress of its strategy, detailed by the two co-presidents (always for one year) Serge Toubiana and Hervé Michelaccompanied by the general manager Daniela Elstner. Here are a few selected excerpts.

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“You have to reach as well as possible and as widely as possible. For exporters, the good news is the multiplication of distribution channels, but their job is more complex. We also noticed during the recent Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival that the platforms are less present than a few years ago on the acquisition front, which shows that they are starting to integrate better into the ecosystem. As they no longer necessarily take on global rights, for promotion, there is a lot of work on releases to be done and articulated with them on a case-by-case basis. In terms of promotion, we must not think that the cinema and the audiovisual are done to the detriment of one another. A very good example is the series Call my agent whose success has made famous Camille Cotin and Laura Calamy for example, that Unifrance can use to promote other works.

“We now have a tool much better suited to the promotion and export of French soft power. There is a new porosity between the cinema and the audiovisual sector, and we must form a common front without diluting the specificities of each sector. Because even if this convergence is increasing under the impetus of the platforms, we must preserve the individuality of the two sectors, which have different models and modes of financing, there are therefore specific bases, but we can now deploy cutting actions (particularly in documentaries, animation and genre films such as fantasy) which rely on Unifrance’s expertise in supporting artists and producers (especially the youngest among them ) on the international scene, still very little practiced in Europe for audiovisual production. There is also a lot of work to be done to coordinate with linear TV channels and platforms (and the latter are interested, especially Netflix and Amazon) in terms of internationality. the promotion. But if it is necessary for French production to be present on global platforms and to support its talents, it is also necessary to fight against the misconception currently in vogue in the media according to which cinema is dead, because while cinemas and distributors are weakened in a difficult position – climate of pandemic recovery, distributors have not disappeared and they have purchased many films recently at Cannes.

Meet Unifrance in Paris in January 2023 and in Biarritz in September 2022 (250 buyers expected in the Basque seaside city), meet abroad with Rome (April 2022), Madrid (June 2022), Berlin (November 2022 ), New York (March 2022) and Yokohama (December 2022), presence in a myriad of festivals and international markets, various operations (10 To Watch), economic intelligence (with all the figures for the world box office of cinema and streaming data which are improving even if they are still far from perfect because they are unilaterally declarative and presented in a way that is sometimes complicated to decipher), offices in Paris, New York, Beijing and Tokyo: Unifrance plays on all fronts, but the field of digital communication (the agency having been a forerunner with the creation 12 years ago of MyFrenchFilmFestival) is particularly targeted and among the projects for 2023 are the creation of a YouTube channel (with meetings with French artists) and the setting up a festival in the metaverse in a video game.

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(Translated from French)

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