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French doors open

Paris pic org planning location incentives

A delegation from the newly formed Paris Film Commission hit town Tuesday to tubthump new incentives to attract Hollywood producers to the Ile de France region.

Idea is to promote the “savoir faire” of French talent, both in front of and behind the camera; the digital expertise of its technicians; and the unparalleled scenery and locations the area in and around Paris offers.

The big draw is that any production, not just those that can by hook or crook qualify as “French,” are eligible for the incentives and cooperation the region is touting.

The commission will have some e12 million-e13 million ($15.5 million-$16.8 million) in 2005 to spur productions to locate in or around Paris.

Sofia Coppola’s upcoming “Marie Antoinette” is the first notable U.S. film to take advantage of the commission’s help and, indeed, previously closed doors at the historic Versailles site are being opened to accommodate that production.

“We want to put the accent on the professionalism of our filmmaking industry and the fact that we want our region to be a truly international place for production,” said Francis Parny, the VP in charge of culture and communications for the Ile de France region. He was speaking at a Tuesday luncheon in Beverly Hills organized by the newly appointed Consul General Philippe Larrieu.

He and the commission’s executive director, Olivier-Rene Veillon, are visiting major studios over the next few days to talk about the region’s potential benefits for upcoming U.S. movies.

“We are interested in having major films take advantage of what we have to offer, be they co-productions with French partners or completely American in origin. The only condition is that they film for at least a five-week period in the region,” Veillon added.

As for the soaring euro, the duo implied that the commission is focused on attracting bigger-budget productions, not little indie pics looking for a cheaper alternative to the Inland Empire.

The Paris Film Commission is not the only regional film body in France, but almost a third of movies shot in the country (80 out of 220) are filmed in and around the capital. Such regional film initiatives have already cropped up in Germany and Italy.

“Our goal is to create easier conditions for shooting here and to serve as a conduit for producers looking for French financial partners or creative talent,” Veillon added.

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