The Congress serves as a unique opportunity for French cinema operators to network and learn about the most recent trends and developments in the industry. Most importantly, it also provides a chance for policy makers and national bodies - namely the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) and Ministry of Culture - to share their strategies for the upcoming year and meet with representatives from different branches of the exhibition community, to discuss topics as wide ranging as the financing of new technology to the impact of film production on programming.
The different branches of the exhibition community (small, medium and large) met on Tuesday 21 September and reported in a general assembly later in the day. All mentioned the importance of content, the need to modernise cinemas - within the Recovery Plan, with green and digital objectives -, the need for exclusivity and the issue of piracy. On 22 September, a roundtable took place, focusing on "Investing and financing to ensure the future of the cinema". Speakers included cinema operators and bank managers. The full list can be found here. Dominique Boutonnat, President of the CNC, delivered the opening keynote, highlighting the support received by cinemas during the COVID-19 crisis, the windows, the issue of piracy and the coming back of young people. The panel then touched upon the necessity to invest in cinemas, to modernise them and upgrade them. Panelists also mentioned the green and digital transition and agreed that cinemas were key to create value - economically, culturally and socially.
One of the crucial discussions of the week was arguably the debate between cinema operators and the CNC, the official body in charge of French film policy. Among the many topics that were highlighted during this session: film literacy, support schemes, exclusivity, piracy and future investments. Nicolas Seydoux - Hadopi President - and Aurore Bergé (MP) both took the stage to talk about the need to fight piracy and adopt stronger dissuasive measures.
Last but not least, the French Minister for Culture, Roselyne Bachelot closed the day. She announced that €34 million would be given to the industry, to compensate for the losses due to the introduction of the COVID pass - of these, €27 million will go to cinemas. She also talked about the legislative framework, such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Copyright Directive and the Digital Services Act. She added that cinemas must remain innovative, greener and more digital. She also announced that more would be done to support film literacy of all young people, from kindergarten to universities.
You can find the video here.