In the nine-minute video below, published on January 31 by popular vlogger Nerdwriter, titled “How French Cinema Works,” he offers an overview of how the CNC (the French National Centre of Cinema), a public government agency, plays a central role in the country’s film industry.
He provides a visual presentation of how the French system differs significantly from the private, for-profit entities in the US film sector.
In summary, the CNC funds movies, TV, and digital creation at all stages, sourcing revenue from taxes on cinema admissions, TV providers, and physical media.
This funding model allows the CNC to reinvest in the industry, supporting a range of cinematic projects, including those that might not achieve commercial success but contribute to the cultural and artistic landscape.
This is a model that I believe could be adopted by fledgling African film industries. Historical reliance on foreign financing has been a common trend, with most post-independence African films receiving substantial support from European governments, other public institutions, and production companies.
However, there’s been a significant shift towards diversification in funding sources – a mix of foreign financing, local government grants, international co-productions, film festivals, and private investments.
A major recent development is the establishment of a $1 billion African Film Fund by Afreximbank, set to launch in 2024. Specifics have yet to be revealed.
Still, unlike the CNC’s broad support through taxation, African filmmakers exist in a less structured financing environment, relying more on project-by-project funding and partnerships.
That is not to say that there aren’t examples of CNC-like structures. The Fonds de Promotion de l’Industrie Cinématographique et Audiovisuelle (FOPICA) is an initiative by the Senegalese government aimed at supporting the film and audiovisual industry in Senegal.
The future of African film financing appears to be heading towards more hybrid and alternative models.
This could include CNC-like options whether country-by-country, regionally, or continent-wide, playing a similarly central role, providing some balance.
Ultimately, the goal should be to become more self-sustaining, diverse, and adaptable, while still connected to global film industry networks of financing, production, and distribution.