France rebate plan ready to roll

New tax incentives to launch by end of year

France is set to launch its new tax rebates for international production by the end of the year.

This will put it in the same price bracket as rival Western European locations in the contest to attract productions from the U.S. and other countries that have no co-production treaties with France, says Patrick Lamassoure, managing director of the French Film Commission.

The rebates, which will apply to film and TV projects, will be worth 20% of all production spend in France up to a maximum benefit of x4 million ($6 million).

There are a few strings attached:

  • Projects eligible for support from media regulator the Centre National du Cinema, which benefits local pics and European co-productions, are excluded.

  • At least $1.5 million must be spent in France. Visual effects work carried out in the country counts as part of the spend. Live-action projects must shoot for a minimum five days in the country.

  • There are three cultural criteria that must be met: The story must have a strong connection with France or French culture; a significant proportion of the key creative posts must be filled by Europeans; and the claim for the rebate must be made through a company that pays tax in France, although that could be a local subsidiary of a foreign company.

The first of these cultural criteria is far less strictly applied to animation.

If a live-action film or series has more than an average 2.5 visual effects shots per minute in the whole film, then it can be treated as an animation, and doesn’t have to shoot in France at all.

However, Lamassoure doesn’t expect that many productions to go through that process because the animation cultural test requires that around 35% of the work is carried out in France and that’s a high figure to reach for big VFX films, which are usually split between several countries and VFX labs.

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