There are high hopes that ParisFX, the first special effects confab of its kind to be staged in France, will raise the profile of an industry that, though flourishing at home, needs government support to compete in the global marketplace.
“One of the reasons for the event is to get French public bodies and the government interested in the visual effects industry,” says Olivier-Rene Veillon, managing director of the Commission du Film d’Ile de France, which is co-organizing the two-day event with the French information agency Mass Media.
“It’s a very competitive international market, and on a national level we need to introduce some kind of a tax break,” adds Veillon, who is expecting more than 500 industryites, mainly French f/x artists, producers and students, to attend ParisFX.
“We are looking at the U.K. model, which we think is very efficient and pragmatic. We think the French president would like to take initiatives of this kind. He’s taking similar initiatives every day; we hope our moment will come.”
The idea for the ParisFX showcase was first discussed last April when Veillon and other French bizzers held a presentation in Los Angeles where U.S. producers showed an interest in working with French visual effects talent.
This year’s event will showcase the work of French effects companies on several prestige pics. These include director Jan Kounen’s satire of the French advertising world, “99 francs” (effects courtesy of Mac Guff); Florent Emilio Siri’s Algerian War drama “Intimate Enemies” (Def2Shoot); Luc Besson’s “Arthur and the Minimoys” (Buf); “The Fox & the Child” (Mikros Image), helmer Luc Jacquet’s follow-up to “March of the Penguins”; and the mostly French-funded $93.7 million comicbook adaptation “Asterix at the Olympic Games” (four companies, including Buf and Duboi).
There will also be conferences and workshops with many of France’s top f/x supervisors. This year’s event will be mainly in French, but if it is deemed a success and ParisFX becomes a yearly confab, then Veillon hopes further editions will have a much more international — read: English-language — slant.