French facilitators

Who to contact for foreign shoots

Large or small, a foreign shoot need only contact three groups: commissions, line producers and maybe vfx houses. Variety delivers the skinny of some of France’s creme de la creme.

John Bernard, Jake Prods.

Tel: +33 6 09 45 62 62
Credits: “Rush Hour 3,” “The Devils Wears Prada,” “National Treasure 2,” “The Sopranos,” “Munich.” A Brit, but the king of American shoots in France. Works out of Monaco and Peninsula Films in Paris. Oversaw amazing stunts in the middle of Paris for “Rush Hour 3.”

Raphael Benoliel, Firstep
Tel: +33 6 50 19 10 59
Credits at Firstep: Stephen Frears’ “The Queen,” “A Mighty Heart,” “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” which traveled over much of France. The king of British shoots in France. Quite young, but already very strong, inventive and confident.

Frederic Bovis, KanZaman Monaco
Tel: +33 6 09 24 22 82
Credits: Seasoned Monaco-based production manager, going back to Lee Philips’ “King of the Olympics” in 1987. Recent gigs include “Swordfish,” Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers,” Breck Eisner’s “Sahara” and Barry Levinson’s Sundance pic “What Just Happened?” KanZaman is also an established international production house, based out of France and Spain.

Christine Raspilliere
Tel: +33 1 49 95 07 50; cell: +33 6 07 34 21 59
Credits: Line produced “Marie Antoinette” and the French shoot of “The Bourne Ultimatum” plus “The Lover” and worked for French directors such as Betrand Tavernier.

Claude Kunetz, Wallworks
Cell: +33 6 24 88 65 32
Credits: Line produced “Lost in Love,” an Indonesian movie from the 21-year-old writer-director-producer Rachmania Arunita, which totally shot in Paris last summer, following up her debut “Eiffel … I’m in Love.”

Guy Pechard, Bliss
Tel: +33 6 09 16 65 17
Credit: Line produced Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year,” squeezing 60 trucks plus Russell Crowe into tiny Luberon villages, a considerable achievement.

Wang Fang-hui and Yves Cresson, Bayoo
Tel: +33 1 44 64 11 50; cell: Yves Cresson: +33 6 84 54 87 93
Credits: A consultancy-production company, most notably line-producing Chinese TV series in France, such as “Dreams Behind a Crystal Veil” and “Wenzhou a Paris.” A booming market given the growth of the Chinese and Asian TV.

Pat Thomson, the Paris Bureau
Tel: +33 1 45 49 21 19; cell: +33 6 03 01 60 35
Credits: The great lady of American tubes in France. Production-managing mainly for the American market; took care of CNN here. Also handled reality show “The Amazing Race” and MTV’s “The Hills” plus research and shooting for National Geographic docu “Six Degrees.”

Pierre Chalons, Koloss
Tel: +33 6 11 62 03 03
Credits: A 26-year-vet. Took care of the shoot in Western Europe of “Code Apocalypse,” a big Russian hit action movie and a growing market. Has a long French film CV.

Film France, the French Film Commission
Overview: An obvious first port of call for France. Film France coordinates a network of the 38 local film commissions. About 800 local or foreign filmmakers contact Film France every year. Publishes the “France Production Guide” as well as the “France Movie Coproduction Guide.” Developed a tax credit system proposal for foreign productions. Aided negotiations on Louvre access for “The Da Vinci Code.”

Ile de France Film Commission
Overview: Funded by the regional government, which also has created France’s biggest regional film fund, investing $22.9 million last year in French and foreign productions shooting 50% in the Paris region. This area includes most of the technical industries, so the film commission does huge promotion work and is one of the most energetic film commissions in Europe at international festival and marts.

Paris Film
Overview: Part of Paris’ City Hall Cinema Mission, the hard-working Paris Film commission is also the permit office of the City of Lights, hosting 10 feature shoots every day. Recent foreign shoots: “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” “Rush Hour 3,” “National Treasure 2,” “Marie Antoinette,” Hong Sang-soo’s ”Night and Day” and Indonesia’s “Lost in Love.” Arranged to empty streets for the August shoot of “RH3,” and, although equipment wasn’t allowed up the Eiffel Tower until midnight, gave helmer Brett Ratner the possibility of turning the landmark’s lights on and off at will.

PACA Film Commission
Overview: Depending on the years, PACA (Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur) is the first or second destination for foreign shoots in France. One reason: locations like the Riviera, the Luberon, Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez, Marseille. Another reason: a large pool of crew talent, from animators to grips. Tied down Paramount Vantage’s “The Traitor” a few month ago.

Burgundy Film Commission
Overview: With quaint villages and elegant castles aplenty, the beautiful wine region has already attracted many period/rural movies, including “Chocolat.” Now hosting the new Niki Caro movie “Vintner’s Luck.” Commish is funded by the regional government.

Nord-Pas de Calais Film Commission
Overview: Funded by the regional government, the CCRAV manages the film commission and the regional film fund, and used both tools to attract Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” The region also has a long tradition of award-winning Cannes-selected French movies, such as Christian Carion’s “Merry Christmas” and Bruno Dumont’s “Flanders.” Supported French B.O. phenom “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis,” from homeboy Dany Boon.

Buf Co.
Contact: Vanessa Fourgeaud
Tel: (323) 512-6000
Overview: Created by French CGI pioneer Pierre Buffin, Buf is the biggest Hollywood provider in France. Delivered shots for international productions such as “Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “Spider-Man 3,” “Silent Hill,” “The Prestige,” “United 93,” “Batman Begins.”

Foret Bleue
Tel: +33 1 55 33 18 50
Overview: With a strong background in commercials, Foret Bleue also has a solid working relationship with star production designer Patrick Tatopoulos (“10 000 BC,” “I, Robot”).

Mac Guff
Contact: Arnauld Boulard
Tel: +33 1 53 58 46 46
Overview: One of the pacesetters in France, Mac Guff also has a Los Angeles branch. Works on multiple French productions, but also did shots for Jet Li’s “Unleashed” as well as “Bandidas” and delivered the shots of Michel Ocelot animated standout “Azur et Aznar.”

La Maison
Contact: Morgane Thomas
Tel: +33 1 41 12 20 00
Overview: Annie Dautane’s La Maison performed the vfx Gallic major Gaumont’s recent venture into science fiction, the stylish “Chrysalis.”

Mikros Images
Contact: Terra Montgomery
Tel: +33 1 55 63 11 66
Email: terra.montgomery@
Overview: Another French leader, Mikros provided shots on many well-regarded French movies, such as local hit “The Fox and the Child” and “March of the Penguins.”

Contact: Christian Guillon
Tel: +33 1 55 33 51 00
Overview: Veteran vfx master Guillon enjoys a key position in France with his visual special effects supervising company. Took care of vfx extravaganza “Asterix at the Olympic Games” as well as several sequences of Nic Cage starrer “Lord of War.”

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