Studio city

Besson helps launch France's megasoundstage

France holds large sway over the world’s imagination, its filming resources are considerable, and its newly launched tax rebate program TRIP makes it more appealing than ever.

However, the country lacks a studio complex on par with Britain’s Pinewood-Shepperton, where “Nine” was shot, or Germany’s Babelsburg, where the largely France-set “Inglourious Basterds” was filmed.

All that is about to change. Paris’ first modern megastudio is in the offing: Luc Besson’s brainchild, the nine-soundstage Paris Studios, at the $218 million Cite du Cinema complex, is skedded to open mid-2012.

Construction began in February at a former coal-fired power station, says Francois Chenivesse of Euro Media Group-owned facilities provider Transpamedia, which looks set to run the Paris Studios. Financing closed at the end of March.

And a big Paris studio could keep big shoots in France. “If you grab the base camp, you’ve won,” says Film France topper Patrick Lamassoure. “A big international studio shoot will try to shoot mainly in one country. It becomes too expensive to go to other countries.”

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