On one side the flowers, on the other the thorns. It is necessary to read between the lines the report of the Court of Auditors on the National Center for Cinema and Animated Images (CNC), made public on Wednesday, September 20, by the president of the Parisian institution on rue Cambon, Pierre Moscovici. This document of around a hundred pages, which examines over more than a decade (2011-2022) the various missions assigned to the CNC, begins by praising this public administrative establishment, created in 1946, a true “pillar of French policy of supporting cinema for seventy years”which has been able to adapt to different changes (digitalization of theaters, arrival of platforms, etc.) and distributes, thanks to selective and automatic aid, more than 700 million euros for the sector.
Throughout the press conference, the former socialist minister of economy and finance (2012-2014) of François Hollande used a refined vocabulary – not to say that he did the splits – , showing its support for the creation policy while insisting on the need to control the use of “public money” assigned to cinema. “Public money must be managed by a public decision, no one can escape it”he justified himself.
In doing so, the president of the Court of Auditors has reactivated the debate on the nature of aid – public or private? – allocated to financing films. A debate or rather an open controversy after the declarations of director Justine Triet, who, receiving her Palme d’Or for Anatomy of a fallon May 27, took the public authorities to task, accused of wanting “breaking the cultural exception”.
The Court of Auditors is circumspect about the governance of the CNC, emphasizing “the paradoxical situation of an establishment which sees its already high cash flow and working capital increase over the period – to reach respectively 727 million euros and 818 million euros in 2022 – while its net management results have been negative seven times between 2011 and 2022 ».
“Creation of an audit committee”
Pierre Moscovici demanded “the creation of an audit committee attached to the board of directors, as exists for many cultural establishments”. In this regard, he welcomed the response of the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, who undertook, in her response to the report of the Court of Auditors, “that the CNC revises its budgetary and accounting presentations, in the direction of greater clarity”. And to add, always weighing his words: “The Court also wonders why this proposal is not accepted with more enthusiasm by the CNC itself. »
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