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Versailles tops French export awards

Distributors Banijay Rights, Mediatoon and Balanga took the top prizes at the 2017 TV France International (TVFI) Export Awards last night.

Banijay’s English-language drama Versailles took the top drama prize

Banijay picked up the award for the best selling drama of the past 12 months, Versailles. Mediatoon took the animation prize for Trotro, and Balanga the factual award for Face to Face, which was repackaged from France 5 doc series Duel.

The awards select the three best-selling shows in each category with a jury of buyers voting for the overall winner. Versailles beat TF1’s Harlan Coben series No Second Chance and 100% Distribution’s political drama Spin to the drama award.

The other animation nominees were Cyber Group Studios’ Zorry and Lagardère Studio Distribution’s Sonic Boom. In documentaries, France TV Distribution’s Apocalypse: The Battle of Verdun and Terranoa’s Moon were also on the shortlist.

Balanga’s Christophe Bochnacki said: “This award is the proof that independent distributors have their place. Please don’t forget us in the name of consolidation.”

The TVFI export awards form part of the Procirep Award ceremony for the French producer of the year. The drama award for that went to KwaÏ for its acclaimed Canal+ political drama Baron Noir.

Compagnie des Phares et Balises won the documentary producer prize for its lifetime work. Animation producer of the year was fledging indie Tant Mieux Prod, which adapted poetry in shortform animation series En Sortant de l’Ecole for France Télévisions.

France’s minister of culture and communication Audrey Azoulay said: “I’m happy to see that French animation is one of the strongest in the world, that French documentaries are collecting awards and that demand for French drama has returned strongly over the past two or three years.

“As a minister, I believe the television content industry is central – especially considering current world troubles. I am very proud we managed to strengthen it.”

She added that the tax credit system introduced by the government for shows produced in France has so far injected €180m (US$191m) into production.

Azoulay continued: “We also secured France Télévisions investment in drama, documentary and animation of €420m and improved Arte’s budget. We are improving broadcasters’ revenues by relaxing sponsorship rules, which should bring them €20m to €30m.”

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