Scorsese, U, Fox tap French rebates

'Hugo Cabret' to shoot in Paris

CANNES — Martin Scorsese’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and Universal’s toon skein “Minions Short Series” are among five productions awarded a French tax break for international shoots.

Awards have been made by France’s Centre National du Cinema (CNC).

Based on the bestselling illustrated book, and set at a toyshop in Paris’ Gare du Nord, following “The Tourist,” Scorsese’s hommage to early French cinema is the second GK Films pic to draw down a rebate this year.

Helmed by Samuel Tourneux, “Minions” are four three-minute comic spin-offs from the Chris Meledandri-produced “Despicable Me.” Like “Me,” animation comes courtesy of France’s Mac Guff Ligne. As with Meledandri’s shorts for “Ice Age,” “Minions” turn on a main movie secondary character, here small egg-like yellow creatures.

Kicking in December, Gallic tax break coin — applied at 20% of most production spend in France or with French toon/vfx houses — is capped at Euros4 million ($5.6 million).

The latest rebate awards underscore several trends, said Patrick Lamassoure, managing director, Film France national film commission.

“Rebates probably proved clinchers in bringing shoots that in the past could have resorted to second unit photography,” Lamassoure said, pointing to “Cabret” and Tom Bezucha’s Selena Gomez starrer “The Monte Carlo Story,” set up at Fox 2000 and New Regency.

For the first time in four award rounds, a non-Paris based toon house, Marseilles’ Action Synthese has pulled down an animation rebate, here on Norwegian kids TV series, “City of Friends,” helmed by Jean Duval.

“The Tax Rebate on International Production remains attractive for TV series and animation, including non-U.S. works,” Lamassoure commented.

An award to the low-budget indie production “Second Coming,” with Marion Cotillard and Mark Ruffalo, also suggests that beyond Hollywood studio fare, lower-end indie pics can also score rebates, Lamassoure concluded.

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