Arte partners with city hall to map film locations

Franco-German broadcaster Arte is working with Paris City Hall to develop a smart-phone app, called Cinema City, that will help tourists interact with movie locations. Paris’ tourism office, which is backing the project, discovered from a recent study that one of the main motivations for people to visit the city was to see the locations from films they liked, such as Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” or Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo Cabret.”

The app, which is skedded to launch in March, is the brainchild of Michel Reilhac, head of film acquisitions at pubcaster Arte France and exec director of its feature production arm, Arte France Cinema.

“It’s geo-activated, meaning that when you are in a spot where a scene from a film was shot, you will be able to see that scene in the smartphone,” Reilhac says. “You’ll then get a link to a DVD platform where you can watch the whole film.”

Reilhac encourages users to interact with the content. “You can film your own version of the scene you’ve just seen and store it on the app,” he says. There’s also a game that users can play, and a website where those who aren’t local yet can plan their visit to Paris.

The app will be in five languages, and Reilhac’s ambition is to export it to other cities, starting with Berlin, then New York, Rome and Tokyo.

His plan is to tie the launch of the app, which is being developed with the help of Forum des Images and CNC, to a screening on Arte of Michel Gondry’s 2008 comedy “Be Kind Rewind,” in which two hapless vidstore clerks have to shoot their own versions of films, and he hopes to persuade Gondry to act as a kind of godfather to the launch. Plans include a competition showcasing the best user-generated content that has been posted on the Cinema City website.

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