Unifrance prepares international events, builds a Youtube channel, predicts a restart based on the soundtrack of French films abroad

A year after its merger with the French Society for the Promotion of International Television, Unifrance is preparing for a series of strategic events in key markets in Europe, the US, China and Japan to accelerate the worldwide distribution of national series and films.

Cinéma et Télévision France Invitation Banner will host exhibitions with French sales and international distributors in Paris in January, Biarritz (Southwest France) in September, Rome in April, Madrid in June, Berlin in November. New York in March and Yokohama in December. The 13th online MyFrenchFilmFestival dedicated to French films will take place in January and February.

While the box office in France has declined due to the pandemic, Unifrance has noted the recent great success of French productions at major festivals, such as Palme d’Or winner Giulie Ducornu, as well as Call Me. agent! She has won an International Emmy Award and Audrey Dewan is “closer” to winning the Golden Lion in Venice 2020.

In 2021, French films have garnered 17.5 million screenings abroad, led by Samuel Tourneau’s animated film Around the World in 80 Days. Directed by Julien Fournier’s The Adventures of Phil, a film directed by the cast of The Jungle Bunch, was another successful animated film. I

In the United Kingdom, which is dominated by English-language films, Celine Siyama’s Little Mama has sold 45,000 copies. The sequel to Syamma’s “Portrait of a Burning Lady”, the film was also a hit in the United States, selling nearly 100,000 tickets.

Unifrance forecasts the second half of 2022 and reports that acceptance rates are rising in many countries such as the Netherlands and South Korea, while others such as Germany, Italy and Spain are always experiencing problems.

Unifrance also expects a 50% increase in French film soundtracks abroad in 2022, again driven by French feature-length animated films, including Théodore Tey and Laurent Zeitoun’s Vaillante (Ballerina), which has sold over a million tickets per month and was especially popular in Latin America and Russia; The Chicken and the Hamster of Darkness by Ben Stassen and Benjamin Mosca also performed well internationally. Martin Bourbolone’s Eiffel, co-produced by Pate, starring Emma Mackay and Roman Doris, has recently had a good start in American theaters.

Two other Pathé films – Guillaume Canet’s Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire and Martin Bourboulon’s The Three Musketeers – should help improve the soundtrack in 2023.

In 2021, French films also accounted for almost 5% of libraries on subscription streaming services and paid VOD platforms, ranking third behind American and Indian films, 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 Louis Leterrier’s Showdown with Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte, which is already the fifth most popular foreign film on the platform. In terms of soap opera, the French crime comedy HPI, starring Audrey Fleur (Spiral), has been to 90 countries and watched by almost 175 million people worldwide.

A single Unifrance banner unites over 1,000 members, including producers, sales agents and film and television industry artists.

“This new Unifrance is better suited to the current situation our film and audiovisual communities are facing,” said the President of Unifrance. Serge Toubiana.

Toubiana highlighted France’s artistic and cultural leadership in Europe, its role in financing foreign films and their co-production by talented directors from all over the world.

“There is still a struggle for freedom and independence (…) in an ever-changing economic and industrial context under pressure from global broadcasters,” Toubiana continued.

Unifrance received an additional €3 million in support to fund its post-merger strategy and consolidation of new operations, and to develop additional tools and digital content for professionals and the public. The organization is currently compiling a list of its own dedicated Youtube channels that will feature exclusive and comprehensive content.

“There is a real demand for French films and series, and our goal is to fully reflect the diversity of our offer,” said the CEO of Unifrance. Daniela Elstnerki also emphasized the fund’s commitment to work together with European institutions and innovators, as well as to invest in new technologies.

A strong Europe needs a strong European culture. According to Elstner, who joined Unifrance in 2020 from Doc & Film International, as long as the European film and audiovisual industry is healthy, French creativity will benefit.

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