Initially excluded from France’s tax rebate for international productions, accommodation, a vital cost consideration on any shoot, now counts towards rebate spend. Premiere Loge, a Location Expo sponsor, arranges it across France and beyond. Variety talked to Premiere Loge’s Pierre Boris about the companies activities and challenges.
The French tax credit scheme now includes hotel costs in the eligible expenses. Has this already had an impact on your work or do you expect it to have an important impact in the near future?
Approved in 2009, France’s tax credit for international productions approved contributed to assisting foreign productions interested in filming in France. France has terrific advantages for filming. Considerable efforts are being made by the local authorities in this direction. Since 2010, we have seen a considerable increase in production requests from countries throughout Europe, Asia and of course, English-speaking countries as well. Since the tax credit was extended to include accommodation, our hotel service provision sector has definitely seen a jump in business for 2013. We were able to accompany two American film shoots which – for the first time in years – shot exclusively in France: the latest Woody Allen film, “Magic In the Moonlight,” which shot in Nice,” and DreamWorks’ “100 Foot Journey,” from Lasse Hallstrom, which shot in the southwest of France and Paris. More recently, we assisted Stephen Frears’ cycling film, in the Alps and northern France. We also worked on EuropaCorp’s “Three Days to Kill,” starring Kevin Costner There are also many other projects which I can’t disclose due to professional reasons. Lastly, it’s worth noting a clear increase in the number of commercials shoots from all round the world.
What specific skills have you developed in this regard?
Premiere Loge is the only specialist service providing accommodation facilities for film, television and cultural events in France. We book accommodation worldwide. This comes naturally to us because of the diversity of accommodation types – all categories of hotels, hotel apartments, cottages, apartments – required in different cultural branches, that obliges excellent knowledge of each profession. You have to constantly work alongside producers and listen to, and understand, their artistic and creative requirements. For me personally, I’ve been working in the hotel and accommodation business for over 20 years and the work we do here is tailor-made. We often serve as a buffer to protect producers from having to deal directly with hotels. There are always last-minute changes. We also pay the hotels – an eligible expense in the tax credit scheme – and this fact interests French production services companies in charge of foreign productions.
Lastly, our customers benefit from discount prices that we negotiate for our clients. This is due to the fact that we are regularly requested to make bookings in all cities throughout France – for example with artists on tour or other major cultural events, which we accompany regularly.
What challenges do international shoots pose?
The term “challenge” is interesting: Each shoot is a challenge as we have an obligation to guarantee success; each film must be completed. We see ourselves as a team member on every film, we are totally involved in the filmmaking process. We make sure that everyone is satisfied and thus establish France as a benchmark of excellence that must serve as a reference for future projects. We never forget that we’re in a market that’s competing with other countries. The important thing is not simply to participate – it’s to win.
You will be attending Location Expo, how do you see the importance of this event?
The show is a fabulous initiative – I am even surprised that it hasn’t been in existence longer. It demonstrates that France is not only rich in terms of landscapes but also excellent professionals who have a true love and an extensive film industry culture. Everybody is ready to strive to make your dreams become a reality.