One year after the merger with the French Society for the Promotion of International Television, Unifrance It is preparing for a series of strategic events in key markets across Europe, the United States, China and Japan to accelerate the global distribution of national series and films.
The Cinéma et Télévision France Invitation Banner will host trade shows bringing together French sales teams and international distributors in Paris in January, Biarritz (south-west France) in September, as well as in Rome in April, Madrid in June, Berlin in November , New York in March and Yokohama in December. The 13th edition of the online MyFrenchFilmFestival dedicated to French films will take place in January and February.
While the French box office suffered a decline due to the pandemic, Unifrance highlighted the great recent success of French productions at major festivals, for example the Palme d’Or of Palme d’Or winner Julia Ducornu , as well as the series “Call my agent! She won an international Emmy and Audrey Dewan is “coming up” with the Golden Lion win at Venice 2020.
French films accumulated 17.5 million admissions abroad in 2021, led by the animated film Around the World in 80 Days by Samuel Tournaud. Directed by “The Adventures of Phil” by Julien Fournier, a film produced by the cast of “The Jungle Bunch”, was another successful animated film. I
In the United Kingdom, a market heavily dominated by English-language films, Céline Siyama’s “Little Mom” sold 45,000 admissions. The film, which marked Sciamma’s sequel to Portrait of a Lady on Fire, was also a hit in the United States selling nearly 100,000 tickets.
Unifrance has forecast the second half of 2022 and reports that admissions levels are increasing in many countries, such as the Netherlands and South Korea, while others such as Germany, Italy and Spain are always in trouble.
Unifrance also anticipates a 50% increase in soundtracks for French films abroad in 2022, again driven by French animated feature films, including “Vaillante” by Théodore Tay and Laurent Zeytoun (“Ballerina”) which sold over a million tickets in a month and was particularly popular in Latin America and Russia; “Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness” by Ben Stassen and Benjamin Mousquey also performed well internationally. “Eiffel” by Martin Bourbolone, co-produced by Pathé and starring Emma Mackay and Roman Doris, recently got off to a good start in American theaters.
Two other Pathé films – “Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire” by Guillaume Canet and “The Three Musketeers” by Martin Bourboulon – should help boost the soundtrack in 2023.
French films also accounted for nearly 5% of libraries on subscription streaming services and paid VOD platforms in 2021, ranking third after American and Indian productions, according to Unifrance. On Netflix alone, French films were the most watched foreign language films in the second half of 2021.
An example of successful French films is “The Takedown” by Louis Leterrier with Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte which is already the fifth most watched foreign film on the platform. On the soap opera side, the French crime comedy “HPI” with Audrey Fleuru (“Spirale”) traveled to 90 countries and was watched by nearly 175 million people worldwide.
The Unifrance uniform banner brings together more than 1,000 members, including producers, sales agents and artists from the film and television industry.
“This new Unifrance is better suited to the current situation facing our cinematographic and audiovisual communities”, declared the president of Unifrance. Serge Tubiana.
Tubiana highlighted France’s artistic and cultural leadership within Europe, its role in financing foreign films and their co-production by talented filmmakers from all over the world.
“There are still battles to be fought to promote freedom and independence (…) in an ever-changing economic and industrial context under pressure from global broadcasters,” continued Tubiana.
Unifrance received additional support of 3 million euros to finance its post-merger strategy and pool new operations, as well as develop more tools and digital content for professionals and the public. The organization is currently building a list of its own dedicated Youtube channel which will feature exclusive and comprehensive content.
“There is a real appetite for French films and series and our objective is to fully reflect the diversity of our offer”, declared the general manager of Unifrance. Daniela Elstnerwho also underlined the foundation’s ambition to work alongside European institutions and innovators, as well as to invest in new technologies.
A strong Europe needs a strong European culture. As long as Europe’s film and audiovisual industries are healthy, French creativity will benefit, said Elstner, who joined Unifrance in 2020 from Doc & Film International.
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Unifrance prepares international events, builds a Youtube channel, predicts the relaunch by soundtrack of French films abroad