French production bounces back in '07

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PARIS -- The French film industry regained its momentum in 2007 after a drop in French film production in 2006, with 228 films made in the territory last year, compared with 203 the year before, government film body the CNC said Wednesday.

One hundred-eighty six French films were produced in 2007, just shy of 2005's record 187, for a record €1.01 billion ($1.48 billion). Majority foreign co-productions represented 42 of the total films made, for a total production cost of €191.4 million ($280.5 million).

French film industry insiders have been worried about the growing disparity between low-budget art house fare (films with budgets under €4 million) and more costly commercial productions.

Only 19 mid-budget films (those with budgets between 4 million euros and 7 million euros) were made in 2006, compared with 48 in 2005.

At last year's Cesar awards ceremony, "Lady Chatterley" helmer Pascal Ferran urged the CNC to make strides to get rid of such a lack of midbudget films, and 2007's results show improvement.

In 2007, 30 films were made in the mid-budget category, representing 16.5% of total CNC investments, compared with the state film body's 11.7% investment in the category in 2006.
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