Lyne Benoit, Guiana Film Commissioner, spoke to Variety
PARIS – France’s territory extends throughout the world, including the department of French Guiana in South America, known as the “French Amazon,” which borders Brazil and Suriname and has a total area of 32,253 square miles, making it one of France’s largest regions. The region includes three nature reserves, a biological reserve and the Guiana Amazon natural park.
French Guiana has a very low population density and the highest per capita income in South America. Much of the country’s income deriving from the Guiana Space Centre – the European Space Agency’s main launch site along the equator.
As a French department (and so part of the European Union) any film or TV production lensing in the territory benefits from France’s tax rebate system, making it increasingly attractive to foreign producers.
It’s worth remembering in this regard that one of France’s most important locations for foreign shoots is the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which has hosted five seasons of the BBC TV series “Death in Paradise.”
In 2014, there were 120 days of location scouting and 200 days of production in French Guiana. In 2015, this figure rose to 200 days of location scouting and 300 days of production.
Over recent months, Guiana has hosted the eight-part Canal Plus TV series, “Guiana,” which lensed between August and December and is currently prepping season two. The series was originally planned to be shot in Malaysia but after location scouting in the territory decided to switch to Guiana.
Another TV series, about the French Amazon, is being prepped in co-production between France and Brazil.
Broadcaster Arte has also commissioned a three-part series, “Maroni,” about magic, spiritualism and religion, inspired by Colin Niel’s novel “Les hamacs de carton” about the adventures of the explorer Anato in the French Amazon, which is now being prepped.
Pelagie Serge Poyotte is also advancing on “Soleil de l’Amerique,” a co-production between France and Brazil.
And Alain Maline is in development on a feature film, “Caiman d’Or,” which will lens in the territory.