New €115 million package to bail out France’s curfew-hit culture sector

New €115 million package to bail out France's curfew-hit culture sector
French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot announcing the support package. Photo: AFP
France has announced a package of measures to support the country's struggling culture sector as curfew deals a further blow.

As the 9pm to 6am curfew now covers roughly half of France, as French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that theatres and cinemas would not be exceptions to this rule, the culture sector is in grave difficulty.

MAP These are the areas of France under curfew

During yesterday’s press conference for the announcement of new health restrictions,  culture minister Roselyne Bachelot unveiled a new €115 million support package, split between the cinema (€30 million) and the live performance sector (€85 million).

 

 

Here's a breakdown of what it involves.

Live performance sector:

  • The music industry will benefit from €55 million, including €3 million for authors
  • Tax exemptions on shows, already announced by the government, are extended to the first quarter of 2021 
  • Theatres and playwrights will benefit from €20 million in support grants
  • Roselyne Bachelot reminded that a temporary emergency and solidarity funds has been in place since early September for artists and show technicians, in order to financially help people that do not fit any of the preceding categories. The culture minister expects this fund to eventually reach €10 million.

 

Cinema:

  • Cinemas in curfew zones can still operate during the day and early evening, but must sacrifice evening showings – usually their most profitable times. In curfew zones, an extra supplement (paid by the state) will be added to each cinema ticket, and the benefits will go to the film distributors.
  • An automatic financial support will be implemented for film distributors and producers during the six weeks of the curfew
  • Compensation funds will be replenished to balance the revenue loss for cinemas.

“And when will that money arrive on our bank accounts ?” was the reaction of Loïc Bonnet, the president of the private theatres association after the announcements.

 

According to him, €10,000 is needed “right now” for the smallest for most vulnerable enterprises to save the venues, as theatre owners need to pay rents, he told French radio France Info.

Loïc Bonnet argues that the date to receive the promised money is still too far away, as people from the culture sector need to fill in a case file that will be examined. Then only, the money will be deposited on their bank accounts.

“We are going to lose another month, a month and a half, maybe two. A private business that doesn’t have any money cannot afford this cost”, said Loïc Bonnet on France Info.


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