Paris Studios Anticipates Production Hike 2014

Star Wars Identities exhibition will attract more tourists to the site

Luc Besson’s 9-studio facility, Paris Studios, anticipates a rise in shoots in 2014.
Two major American productions are in advanced negotiations for a 2014 shoot, communications exec Laetitia Etchecopar told Variety at this week’s Ile de France Location Expo.

In the wake of France’s TRIP tax rebate scheme being hiked last year to a maximum $27 million for foreign shoots, there is a genuine increase in U.S. productions looking to shoot interiors on its sound stages, Etchecopar added.
Paris Studios are also enjoying a higher level of use from commercials productions: Per Etchecopar, advertising agencies believe they can achieve greater control of the creative process by shooting in Paris, rather than attempting to find cheaper facilities in Eastern Europe that involve greater unforeseeable risks and high travel and accommodation expenses for talent and crew.

Lodged in Paris’ Cite du Cinema complex, Paris Studios opened its doors in September 2012.

It boasts a range of sound stages hitherto unavailable elsewhere in France – with a total of 102,500 sq. ft in studio space, plus a further 64,500 sq. ft of workshops and annexes –  and now competes with top facilities in Europe such as Pinewood and Berlin’s Babelsberg.

The studios are a joint venture between Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, with a 50% stake and Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications and Euromedia, both with 25% equity.

EuropaCorp has its head office in the Cite du Cinema and recently lensed four major features in the studios – “Taken 2”, “Malavita”, “3 Days to Kill” and the company’s latest production, the Besson-directed “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson.

Other 2013 Paris Studios shoots include “Smurfs 2”, Lasse Hallstrom’s “Hundred Foot Journey”, Frederique Cavaye’s “Mea Culpa”, Francois Ozon’s 2013 Cannes competition-player “Young & Beautiful,” and Alain Resnais’ “Life of Riley”, that won Saturday the Alfred Bauer Prize at this year’s Berlinale.

Paris Studios also targets TV productions and commercials.

Recent projects include a series for France 2 and spots for Chanel, Dior, L’Oreal and Givenchy.

The studios were one of five studio facilities attending this year’s edition of the Ile de France Location Expo, which ran Feb 13-14.

The Paris Studios concept is based on providing a one-stop shop, speeding up the production process.

On site services include integrated lighting grids in each studio, a 3D printing facility – that accelerates the set-building process, a 500-seater screening room, VIP lounges and suites, on-site catering, construction, VFX facilities and office space.

Inspired by his childhood scuba-diving days in the Mediterranean, Luc Besson has used water to major effect in many of his films, from “Le Grand Bleu” onwards.

The existence of tanks in five of the studios, ranging from 1,610 sq. ft. to 4,520 sq. ft., was therefore viewed as a priority: The studios now offer some of the largest studio tanks available in Europe.

The fact that the Cite du Cinema is based on a former power station also means that it can offer enhanced power facilities that can be adapted to each production, without the need for external generators. One example: Its integrated heating system that enables the indoor studio temperature to be rapidly increased or decreased.

“In Los Angeles, producers are accustomed to a relatively constant outdoor temperature, but in Paris there are major variations in temperature over the year. So an integrated heating system is extremely important in order to rapidly attain the desired production temperature whenever required, at any time of the year” Etchecopar explained.

In addition to its core business of servicing productions, the complex has also begun to attract tourists. This trend is predicted to increase over time, especially given that its 10 minutes from the city centre, via the Paris Metro.

From Feb. 15 through June 30, 2014, Studios 8 and 9 will house the Star Wars Identities exhibition, developed and produced by Montreal’s X3 Productions, in collaboration with Lucasfilm. It is expected to be a popular attraction for Parisians and visiting tourists.

As a new state of the art facility hosting major international productions with visiting stars, the Cite du Cinema’s Paris Studios is expected to attract further tourist interest over time.

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