Q & A for potential Gallic filmmakers

Inside the new French tax regulations

1. When will France’s tax rebates be up and running? Probably by May. They need European Commission formal approval, which could come in mid-April. Production spend from Jan. 1 will count toward costs.

2. Who can apply? French or French-resident production companies or line producers who refund the rebate to the foreign producer. So choose your Gallic partner carefully.

3. What projects qualify? Live-action or animated movies, miniseries, TV movies and series that don’t receive French National Cinema Center funding, which rules out official French co-prods. Production costs in Gaul must total at least E1 million. Live-action pics must shoot at least five days in France. No docus.

4. How large are the rebates? Twenty percent of approved French production costs, with a E4 million ceiling.

5. When will the rebates be paid? Usually after the shoot. French film authorities are also examining the possibility of rebates being banked before shooting begins.

6. What cultural criteria must projects meet? Films score in three categories: content (French story, setting, characters, source material/language); hubs (locations, studios, post-production, etc.); and practitioners (French or other European actors, directors, writers and producers). “If your film isn’t connected in any way with France, you’re not eligible,” says Film France’s Patrick Lamassoure. Animated-project standards look to be less rigid, emphasising animators over voice stars, for example.

7. What production costs are not approved? Accommodations, so forget about leveraging the Hotel de Crillon. European or European-resident actors’ salaries count toward spending at French minimum-wage levels. For Europeans’ pay to qualify as French spending, it must be subject to tax payment in France.

8. Can different sources of funding be combined? Yes, so explore France’s extensive regional funds.

9. Surely it’s difficult to shoot in the Louvre… Not at all. The Ile de France film commission will bring the heads of the Louvre and Versailles to the Santa Monica location trade show in April.

10. If in doubt … Call or email Film France.

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