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Local set-up required for films

Up to 30% of a film's budget can be recouped

BRUSSELS — The lure of generous tax incentives, a skilled multilingual work force and a nonunionized working environment have been attracting movie producers to Luxembourg for over 10 years.

Well-known helmers, including Brit Peter Greenaway and Roman Coppola, have chosen to return to Luxembourg to shoot a number of productions and have benefited from the government tax break program, set to run until at least 2008.

Up to 30% of a film’s budget spent in Luxembourg can be recouped through the government’s financial support mechanism.

“Because hotel and crew expenses are around the same as France or Germany, this makes films 20-30% cheaper to make in Luxembourg,” says Heinz Thym, head of acquisitions and sales at CLT/Ufa Intl.

One condition attached to the Luxembourg subsidy program making it different to other European incentive schemes is that the pic must be made in co-production with a Luxembourg-based company.

“You could set up your own company in Luxembourg, but for the first picture I’d recommend joining forces with one of the 14 recommended film production houses based locally,” says Guy Daleiden, head of the national film fund.

With around six features produced annually, Luxembourg has no ambitions to become a mini-Hollywood.

“Given the size of the country and our economy, we’re clearly not after the $100 million films,” says Jimmy de Brabant, managing director of Delux Prods. Delux co-produced Coppola’s “CQ” (an out-of-competition official selection at this year’s Cannes Intl. Film Festival) with American Zoetrope and MGM.

THE MONEY

Luxembourg’s financial support mechanism is financed through the National Film Fund (www.filmfund.lu)

SPECIALISTS

Banks: BCEE, the Luxembourg state savings bank; Dexia Group; Fortis Group

Attorneys: Legueff Avocats (Stephan Legueff); Oostvogels and De Meester (Francois Pfister)

Co-production companies: Carousel Picture Co. (Romain Scroeder); Delux (Jimmy de Brabant); Samsa Film (Jani Thiltges); Studio 352 (animated features; Stephan Roelants)

NEW FILMS

“CQ” (Carousel Picture Co., American Zoetrope, MGM); directed by Roman Coppola, with Jeremy Davies, Angela Lindvall, Gerard Depardieu; 18% of budget from Luxembourg national film fund

“Diggity” (Carousel Picture Co.); directed by Tom Reeve; cast, Andrew McCarthy; 20% of total budget from National Film Fund

“Feardotcom” (Carousel Picture Co.); directed by Bill Malone; cast, Stephen Rea, Stephen Dorff, Udo Kier; 12% of total budget from National Film Fund

“Secret Passage” (Delux Productions, Luxembourg and Zephyr Films); director, Ademir Kenovic; cast, John Turturro, Miranda Richardson; 17% of total budget from National Film Fund