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Cannes 2022: at the Festival, cinema bankers show little concern

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Awarded with a line in the credits of the films, they remain unknown to the general public. At the Cannes Film Festival, the few French film bankers – the establishments they run can be counted on the fingers of one hand – climb the stairs, see films that they have often financed and, above all, make appointments from morning to evening. you with customers or prospects around the world: “Between the first coffee in the morning and the last drink late in the evening”, admits Anne Flamant, cinema and audiovisual director of the Neuflize OBC bank (ABN Amro), which has relocated its teams to Cannes for ten days. Among the feature films presented this year, it ensured the financing of eight of them, including Brother and sisterby Arnaud Desplechin, NMR, by Cristian Mungiu, November, by Cédric Jimenez, or even The Night of 12of Dominik Moll, and managed the treasury of 18 others.

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Financing film projects remains a very special business, exercised in France by three banks: Neuflize OBC, BNP Paribas and Banque Palatine, since Rothschild Martin Maurel and Banco Espirito Santo et de la Vénétie (BESV) launched the sponge. To this trio must be added the two essential credit institutions Coficine (a subsidiary of Natixis BPCE) and Cofiloisirs (BNP Paribas). “Between us, Coficine and Cofiloisirs, we represent 85% of French films”, says Jean-Baptiste Souchier, CEO of Cofiloisirs, which accompanied 24 films in Cannes this year.

Specialized establishments

These banks and these specialized credit establishments constitute a French exception, which is explained by the proliferation of production. And the involvement of the State in the sector too since the Institute for the financing of cinema and cultural industries (Ifcic), semi-public, is responsible for providing bank guarantees and facilitating access to bank credit. , even if it means lending to companies in the seventh art.

While the very large cinema groups use traditional banks, this ecosystem makes it possible to sustain the entire fabric of independent producers. “Without this, an independent production company would have difficulty obtaining credits to finance the making of a film”, underlines Isabelle Terrel, general manager of Coficine. “We need to analyze the production risks of each film and the financing contracts”, she says. While conceding that, in the current context, “if 300,000 euros are missing from a 4 million project, we can lend”. Isabelle Terrel does not hide either that the credits “are a little more risky today”, which also makes in his eyes “the most interesting things”.

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