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Montpellier, a stronghold for Cultural and Creative Industries

Information updated on 25/04/22

CCI organizations hold a special place in Montpellier. The area is home to many schools, start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses, and world-renowned companies that are all part of a flourishing ecosystem with strong growth and job potential.

A true lever for territorial exposure, Cultural and Creative Industries are generally concentrated in the film, television, video game, creation, 3D animation, and special effects sectors, as well as in the sound and audio sector. The greater Montpellier area is one of the major locations in France, outside of Paris, where the number of employees in creative occupations has grown the most since 2008, with about 2,100 people in 2020.

Local schools and studios received several awards in recent weeks

Filled with rising stars, the Montpellier area is an outstanding territory for cultural and creative industries, as presented at the MIPIM (International Market for Real Estate Professionals) conference in Cannes held in mid-March 2022.
Over the past few weeks, local schools and animation-video game studios have received several awards.
DigixArt received five awards for its game “Road 96” at the Pégases game awards in early March.
  • Specialized in narrative video games, DigixArt is a Montpellier-based studio best known for producing “Lost in Harmony,” which reached 2 million players worldwide, and “11-11 Memories Retold”, a narrative adventure game set during World War I, produced with Aardman Animation and published by Bandai Namco.
“Road 96” is the studio’s most recent creation. Selected as the Independent Game of the Year by Hollywood Reporter, “Road 96” has been quite successful internationally, especially in China and the United States.
In early March 2022, the game won five awards at the Pégases competition (an event organized in France since 2020 by the French Academy of Video Game Arts and Techniques to recognize the best video games of the year), including the award for Best Independent Video Game, a well-deserved recognition for DigixArt that also reinforces Montpellier’s status as a CCI territory.
  • The series “Arcane,” available on Netflix since November 2021, directed and co-produced by the Fortiche animation studio with a team based in Montpellier, received nine awards at the Annie Awards (American film awards for animated films).
It is worth noting that “Arcane” is based on “League of Legends,” one of the world’s best known video games, produced by Riot Games.
  • The film “Green” was created by four students from the Montpellier school ArtFX by Camille Poiriez, Arielle Cohen, Éloïse Thibault, and Louis Florean. It was shot both on the school’s premises and in Montpellier’s Amazon greenhouse. “Green” received two awards: the Genie Award for Best Student Film at the Paris Images Digital Summit 2022, and the VES (Visual Effects Society) Award for Best Effects in a Student Project (considered as the French equivalent of the Oscar awards for special effects).
The film “Terra Nova,” shot by ArtFX students at the Montpellier Opera House, won the VES Awards in 2019. In the years since the VES Awards were established, ten other films from the school have also been selected: “Black Sail” in 2012, “Initium” and “Runaway” in 2014, “Korser” in 2016, “The Endless” and “Pioneers of the Universe” in 2018, “Aral” and “Time’s Down” in 2020, and “Relativity” and “The Dream Blower” in 2022.
Recognized for offering quality training that is well aligned with the needs of international studios, ArtFX has trained more than 1,000 students since 2004 for highly specialized positions, including 2D and 3D animators, art directors, concept artists, special effects supervisors, and game designers. ArtFX has been among the world’s top-ranked schools for several years in the industry’s benchmark ranking established by specialized media “The Rookies.” The same magazine even ranked the school as number one for special effects and animation in 2021, for the third year in a row.
Meanwhile, the ESMA art school has also seen several student films from its class of 2021 selected in about ten international festivals. The short film “Je suis un caillou” (I am a rock) won the International Short Film “Little Imp Award” at the Indie-Lincs Film Festival in England.

Cultural and Creative Industries, an excellence sector supported by Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole

Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) have a long tradition in France. The first major events date back to the late 19th century with the Lumière brothers’ presentation of the “cinematograph” motion-picture apparatus and the operation of the first immersive cinema in Clapiers (just north of Montpellier), the Panrama, in the mid-1950s, a testimony to the history of technological innovations that reopened its doors for a weekend during the 2021 European Heritage Days.
Industry growth has clearly picked up speed over time, marked by the establishment of many important companies in the Montpellier area, including: Ubisoft in 1995, Netia in 2004, Dwarf Animation in 2010, TSF in 2015, Plug In Digital in 2017, France TV Studios in early 2018, Fortiche in 2020, Smart Tale Games and Supamonks in 2021, and more.
In early 2018, France Televisions set up a 16,000 m² studio space in Vendargues (just east of Montpellier) in order to produce a daily TV series. Companies of all sizes, freelancers, training programs, and associations all work together in Montpellier and throughout the greater Montpellier area to further grow the industry.
One of the CCI ecosystem’s major assets resides in the complementary nature of its skills and expertise: all the different professions are present in each sector, from acting to digital specializations, along with the more traditional technical skills found in cultural and creative industries.
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