The Paris region of Ile de France operates the country’s richest regional film fund, and the only one open to international productions.
“We want the film to be shot in Ile de France, but in any language, with any sort of production,” says commission topper Olivier-Rene Veillon.
In theory, this opens the way for foreign shoots in Paris to pull down coin from both the new national TRIP tax break as well as Ile de France, whose fund is worth around €14 million ($19 million) a year. But so far, no director has succeeded in ticking all the boxes.
Eligibility for the fund means bringing at least 50% of a shoot to Ile-de-France, with a minimum 20 days on the ground and commitments to use local services such as equipment, costumes, labs and post-production.
Aid rises with the level of local commitment, but Veillon concedes that the lower threshhold is high: “That reduces the potential because a lot of international productions don’t come for 50% of their shoot.”
Since 2001, the region has supported 241 films and 155 other audiovisual works, to the tune of $132 million. Most recipients have been French, but some international productions with France have filtered through.
Early successes were James Ivory’s “Le Divorce” and Norman Jewison’s “The Statement,” along with Bollywood pic “One Dollar Curry” by Vijay Singh.
More recent foreign visitors such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien (“Le Voyage du ballon rouge”) and Tsai Ming Liang (“Visage”) have been funded to shoot mainly in French.
But Stephen Frears’ English-language “Cheri” took $234,000 from the fund in 2008, and Chinese helmer Lou Ye (“Suzhou River”) received $676,000 in the latest round for “Chienne,” about a French worker who falls for a visiting Chinese teacher.
Alternatively, international films can claim aid for post-production alone. Recent recipients include “Tehroun” by Nader T. Homayoun and “Agua fria de mar” by Paz Fabrega, receiving $68,500 and $43,350 respectively.