French funding body the CNC has pledged better support for ambitious French documentaries – particularly those which require a long development and editing process – alongside science, history and internationally focused titles.
Frédérique Bredin, the president of the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée), made the pledge while at Sunny Side of The Doc in La Rochelle, where she unveiled details of the reforms of the funding system for documentaries, which were first announced in January and will be effective from this fall.
The definition of “documentary” has been a major issue in France, with programming characterized as factual entertainment and lower-budget reportage from fledging commercial DTT channels having taken advantage of the CNC fund in the past.
The number of funded hours of programming has boomed in recent few years, from 2,000 in 2008 to more than 3,000 hours last year according to CNC figures.
“We have refocused our support towards creative documentaries, which is what the CNC is meant for, with a view to better funding the most ambitious and exportable ones,” Bredin explained.
Funds – proportionate to broadcaster investment – will now be allocated according to a bonus point system. Basic support will be given to all documentaries considered as such, with “questionable” ones being submitted to a commission for consideration.
For the docs to qualify, a French channel has to invest a minimum of €12,000 (US$16,350) per hour in cash; an increase on the current amount of €9,000.
Documentaries will get extra bonus points when:
- They have spent more than €6,000 in development
- The editing process is more than five weeks
- The creative staff account for more than 60% of the cost
- It uses an original soundtrack
- It has three to four countries onboard (with more funding if it has more than five countries)
On the top of that, science and history documentaries will see their grants improved by 20%. While the maximum amount French docs could generate in CNC funding was previously €110,000 per hour, they will now be able get up to €150,000, when cumulating all bonus points.