Editorial of the AFC Newsletter 186, April 2009

by Caroline Champetier, president of the AFC

par Caroline Champetier La Lettre AFC n°186

[English] [français]

As Veronique Cayla (director of the French National Cinema Center) pointed out during her 2009 new year greeting, there is still as much money for film as ever.
But today the "sources" where producers seek funding for their films have multiplied : TV channels, regions, Sofica, tax credits, etc. This brings together non-converging co-producers, each protecting their own investment and the film can easily deviate from its original draft. But in no way does this multiplication imply a lack of money.
How is it then that our work tools have become so degraded ?

Largely because the "perceived" value of the technical players, particularly those involved in the image, has declined dramatically.
With the advent of digital photography, making an image has become a consumer act and, what’s more, one that is detached from any constraints or technical contingencies.
The image belongs to everyone, thus affecting the three concepts that underpin its final value (cost value, use value, perceived value) and creating a disproportionate imbalance. This leads to the disappearance of the added value that was intrinsically linked to the performance of our work.

The added value brought by the cinematographer, or by a particular tool – camera, lenses, lighting and grip equipment –, or by a lab service, are precisely the values that each parameter brings to the original project, adding to it, and without which the project suffers.

Why is the director of photography so often reduced to the role of executor ? Because he is less and less responsible for the technical choices, and therefore the financial ones, of what he has to deliver.
We are asked less and less what should be done to render a particular image, but are rather told to make do with what’s made available to us.
It is therefore urgent to be heard and to reinvent, along with our partners and associate members, a way of educating about our expertise, our experience, our artistic involvement and to ensure that we are always the most knowledgeable explorers of new applications.