On 10 December 2019, the Institut français is launching a brand new version of its film distribution platform developed by ARTE.
IFcinéma offers around 2,500 French films and 600 films from the African Film Library for public and non-commercial screenings. Alternative virtual reality and filmed show content are to be added to this offer. From 10 December, the network of French cultural institutions abroad and its partners will be able to order films by download or physical media (DCP, Blu-ray, 35 mm, etc.) on a single platform. An experienced editorial team will help with the programming of retrospectives, thematic cycles and festivals. Partnerships, such as with UniFrance's My French Film Festival, the Premiers Plans festival, the ACID and also the Month of the Doc, will enhance the range available and allow cinema to travel around the world in all its diversity.
Why a new platform?
Marion Thévenot: Our two platforms - the online film catalogue and IFcinéma - were ageing. We wanted to merge them and offer a single bilingual platform bringing together our entire offering and integrating alternative virtual reality and filmed performance content. Whether they want to order movies for download or on physical media (DCP, Blu-ray, 35mm etc.), users will now have a single platform.
What are the advantages of the new platform?
Marion Thévenot: The editorial approach has been completely redesigned and highlights will be regularly offered to better help the French cultural network and its partners in the programming of retrospectives, thematic cycles and festivals. Content related to our partnerships, in particular to My French Film Festival, UniFrance, the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, Documentary Film Month and the Animated Cinema Festival, will also be more visible. Finally, the platform will make it possible to collect more accurate statistics, including those for screenings organised by the French cultural network abroad, which will make it possible to better promote all of this programming internationally and to better adapt the offer.
Who will the platform target and what will it offer them?
Christine Amman: The platform is aimed at the Alliances françaises, the Instituts français and the cultural services of embassies, cultural and educational partners – local cinemas, festivals, universities, libraries etc. – and teachers. The film offering is available to 150 countries, which currently host more than 40,000 screenings a year. Some films can have up to 25 subtitling languages!
On the new IFcinéma platform, users will have dialogue statements and a file of subtitles in French and English, all contained within a "Resource Kit". These subtitles, including timecodesfor synchronisation, may be used for translations into other languages. The platform will also have a collaborative dimension: users will now be able to comment on films and programming.
You have chosen Arte France Développement as your service provider. How did the partnership come about?
Marion Thévenot: Arte France Développement was selected from the call for tenders. Arte's proposal was the best. Our two institutions also have strong affinities in the choice of programming and a common vision of public service. It was a collaboration.
What is each person’s role?
Christine Amman: Arte designed the technology for the new platform. It is also responsible for the operation and life of the platform as well as customer service.
Marion Thévenot: For its part, the Institut français is responsible for the editorial and online publication of content, user management and, of course, the screenings statistics, which are crucial to giving more weight to communication about the actions of the Institut français, a major player in the non-commercial broadcasting of French cinema internationally.
What are your expectations regarding this new version of IFcinéma?
Christine Amman: We hope that the French cultural network will be happy with this offer, which is intended to be simpler and more intuitive, and which will help it to have a better understanding of programming possibilities!
Marion Thévenot: With this platform, we would like to start a more collaborative relationship with stations so that IFcinéma allows more programming exchanges, and encourages good practice and even communications, such as interviews with film makers.