Exporting French cinema and supporting world cinema

France is the world’s second largest exporter of films.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs plays a key role in promoting the export of French cinema. This issue is paramount in efforts to defend cultural diversity and the vibrancy of our economic diplomacy.

The action of the Ministry’s cultural and audiovisual network and its agencies and partners:

Showcasing and exporting French cinema

  • With the network of audiovisual attachés
    Some 30 audiovisual attachés across 92 countries provide crucial support to the French film industry and its professionals with their valuable knowledge of the field and contacts. This network also works with the main festivals and film schools (Cannes International Film Festival and its Marché du Film, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, La Fémis and Les Gobelins film schools) in France and abroad. It also supports Gaumont-Pathé in its development in Africa.
  • With the network of Instituts Français
    A network of 56 digital theatres in Instituts Français: the cultural network, Unifrance and the Institut Français-Paris are closely involved in the process to digitalize network theatres, financed by the Ministry and the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC). The aim is to develop commercial showings in these theatres and adapt their use to today’s needs (audience monitoring, ticket office, etc.) to foster greater appreciation of French cinema around the world.
    Supporting distribution: with its extensive catalogue of 3,500 films, the Institut Français-Paris has stepped up the distribution of French films worldwide with more than 30,000 non-commercial public screenings abroad.
  • A focus on young people
    Encouraged by the success of its exported animation film industry abroad, Ministry agencies are developing new projects targeting young people. The Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) and UniFrance created in 2015 a critics award for secondary students in the network as part of the online MyFrenchFilmFestival. The Institut Français, with the CNC, has developed a visual image education programme targeting young and diverse foreign audiences.

World Cinema Support

  • With the World Cinema Support fund
    This fund is managed by the Institut Français and CNC and supports the production of fictional feature-length films. Since 2012, the World Cinema Support fund has backed 343 projects. Three films supported by the Fund received awards at the 2019 Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival). Synonyms by Nadave Lapid (a co-production of France, Israel and Germany) won its Golden Bear. Lastly, The Mercy of the Jungle by the Rwandan director, Joël Karekezi, was awarded the Gold Stallion at the 2019 FESPACO. In 2019, a total of 17 films backed by the World Cinema Support fund were presented at Cannes.
  • With La Fabrique Cinéma
    Since 2009, La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut Français has supported 101 projects and 185 directors and producers from 61 countries, including 23 French-speaking countries (39% in Latin America, 24% in Africa, 9% in the Middle East, 22% in Asia and 6% in Eastern Europe). For the past few years, La Fabrique has supported many emerging directors and producers. Films resulting from projects presented to La Fabrique including Aala Kaf Ifrit by Kaouther Ben Hania, My Favorite Fabric by Gaya Jiji, Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu, Amal by Mohamed Siam, Benzinho by Gustavo Pizzi, The Family by Gustavo Rondon Cordova and The Mercy of the Jungle by Joel Karakezi have recently been released in France.

Action by Ministry partners

In the film industry, the Centre National du Cinema (CNC) provides grants for film creation, production and distribution, short films, film exhibition, technical industries, nascent film industries and French film export. France has the largest number of co-production agreements (56) in the world, which is key to preserving the diversity of our cinema and its export. There are also specific bilateral funds to support co-productions with Greece, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Canada.

The CNC organizes co-production workshops regularly, with embassies, so that the professionals of the two countries concerned can meet and share ideas.

The French film association Unifrance is responsible for promoting, selling and distributing French films worldwide. Working under the CNC, the association is presided by Serge Toubiana and directed by Isabelle Giordano. The Ministry appoints a qualified public figure to sit on its Management Committee (Costa Gravas). The network of audiovisual attachés around the world play an active role in the organization of Unifrance events.

The Film France association promotes the filming of foreign films in France. Films are an essential way to convey France’s image, influence and attractiveness. Their success abroad has a direct impact on tourism. The filming of the Jackie Chan film, Chinese Zodiac, at Château de Chantilly increased visits to the castle from a few hundred in 2012 to more than 15,000 today. New tax measures, namely the international tax credit that entered into force on 1 January 2016, have also helped to increase the number of foreign films shot in France in a very competitive European context.


French film is without a doubt one of the most structured and most effective creative and cultural industries in which all film industry players have been able to benefit. The Ministry, its agencies and its cultural network have effectively contributed to its success abroad.

Updated: May 2019