Producer to serve third term as commish prexy

PARIS — Gallic TV producer Nicolas Traube has been re-elected as president of Film France, Gaul’s national film commission.

Best-known for his quality TV dramas (“Coco Chanel,” “War and Peace”), often made for pubcaster channels France 2 and France 3, and for having served as head of drama at France 2, Traube has been reupped for a third three-year term at Film France.

Film France is overseen on a day-to-day basis by managing director Patrick Lamassoure. But its board, and especially its president, sets its agenda.

Traube’s now extensive experience will be highly useful as Film France faces new and complex challenges in the future.

“Over the last few years, Film France has spent a lot of its energy on increasing France’s international visibility, especially in bringing in foreign shoots,” Lamassoure told Daily Variety.

The results have been spectacular: the December 2008 governmental approval of the Tax Rebate for International Production, which has funded “Despicable Me,” “Hereafter” and “Inception,” has attracted international shoots such as Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp starrer “The Tourist” and Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.”

Film France’s most-immediate priorities lie closer to home, Lamassoure said: Stemming the tide of French runaway shoots, and supporting FF’s network of regional, city and county commissions as they seek to justify their existence and budgets.

France implemented tax rebates for Gallic features in 2004 and TV dramas a year later. The move helped to bring French productions home, hiking French production levels from 203 in 2004 to 2005’s 230 features.

From a year or more ago, however, a growing number of French productions, not only big-budget productions, but middle-budget fare as well — have chosen to shoot abroad — especially in Eastern Europe, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg — attracted by freer work regulations and foreign rebates.

France’s tax rebate for French productions, which must be French-language, is capped at Euros 1 million ($1.4 million), Germany’s DFFF system at $5.5 million, or up to $13.7 million in exceptional circumstances.

Regarding France’s film commissions, according to Lamassoure, there are “worrying signs” that regional and local governments are thinking twice before maintaining audiovisual budgets.

Franche Comte, a small French region, nixed its film fund in 2009. Charente county slashed its film fund, used to attract shoots, by 54% to $1.4 million this year.

France’s CNC, and other institutions, are moving informal work-groups to discuss how to make tax rebates for France-based French productions more attractive, Lamassoure said.

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