Since 2009, France has boasted a tax rebate for international productions (acronymed as Trip) worth 20% of eligible expenditure. Capped at €4 million ($5.7 million) per project, the rebate applies to live-action or animated movies, miniseries, TV movies and skeins.

Designed to promote the French technical service industries, Trip considers animated and vfx-intensive features differently with animation-specific criteria.

The Ile de France Film Commission, Film France, Ficam (Gaul’s national audiovisual and media federation) and the national film board, CNC, have recently joined forces to press for the removal of the $5.7 million tax rebate cap for foreign shoots.

Apart from Trip, foreign producers looking to shoot in Gaul can apply for the Ile de France Film Commission’s Regional Support Fund, which is the only financial incentive open to foreign films. The fund gives out $20.4 million per year to select projects.

But as one of Gaul’s top line-producers, Raphael Benoliel, points out, the Regional Support Fund is capped at $218,887 per film and remains highly selective for foreign productions.

Benoliel, who co-produced Stephen Frears’ “Cheri” and Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” via his shingle Firstep, says he received the Ile de France funds for “Cheri,” but wasn’t able to get regional coins for the Allen film.

SFP: Located six miles from Paris, in Bry sur Marne, SFP spreads over 31 acres and features eight soundstages with 6,000 square feet of exterior sets.

Roman Polanski recently lensed his latest film there: “God of Carnage,” starring Jodie Foster.

TSF Studio: Not far from Paris, the 269,000-square-foot TSF Studio is located in Aubervilliers and

boasts eleven soundstages.
Studios Riviera: A five-minute ride from Nice airport, Studios Riviera has 11 soundstages ranging from 4,300 square feet to 12,900 square feet. On-site services include green rooms and a helicopter landing pad.
Future Plans: Gaul lacks bigscale studios in the vein U.K.’s Pinewood Studios Group or Germany’s Babelsberg Studios, but that “shortcoming that will soon be fixed.” per Yann Marchet, director of Marketing and Communications at the Ile de France Film Commission. Luc Besson’s Cité du Cinéma, which is set to open in the Spring of 2012, “will put France on an equal footing with Germany and the U.K. to attract the most ambitious Hollywood blockbusters,” he adds. The new 667,362-square-foot studio will have the advantage of being located less than six miles from

Paris and close to Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget’s airports.

Gaul’s leading toon, vfx and post hub, the Ile de France region, boasts 80 studios, including Mac Guff, Buf, Duran Dubois and Mikros. Other talent clusters can be found in the Nord Pas de Calais, Poitou Charente and Rhone Alpes regions.
Incentives: “The launch of Trip program two years ago has generated larger investments and created more jobs in the French animation and vfx sector than in any

other fields,” says Olivier-Rene Veillon, prexy of the Ile de France Film Commission, pointing out that

Universal’s “Despicable Me” prompted the creation of 200 jobs at Paris-based outfit Mac Guff.
BUF: Vfx powerhouse BUF hired hundreds of staffers to create the animation on Luc Besson’s three

“Arthur” movies, and has been working on a flurry of tentpoles, including “Thor.” “We have the necessary post and vfx resources, and the expertise to handle three or four blockbusters at the same time,” says Thierry de Segonzac, prexy of Ficam, the French film industry association, and TSF Studio.

The Ile de France region, which surrounds Paris and includes

about 90% of Gaul’s mediarelated industries, boasts 40,000 staffers and 122,000 freelancers working in film, TV and related areas. “There are plenty of studios and crews for 10 or 20 films at a given time,” says Patrick

Lamassoure, managing director of Film France, the French film commission. “When it comes to English-speaking crews, we have in the past hosted three or four big U.S. shoots at a time, and that wasn’t an issue,” he adds.

Raphael Benoliel, who co-produced Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” agrees. “We have enough crews to staff at least two or three higher-bracket productions. It happened last year when Thomas Bezucha’s ‘Monte Carlo,’ Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo Cabret’ were shooting in Paris while we were also filming “Midnight in Paris.’ ”

Ile de France Film Commission
Olivier Rene Veillon
Stephane Martinet
+33 1 56 88 12 88
Email: shootings@idf-film.com

Film France Commission
Patrick Lamassoure
+33 (0) 1 53 83 98 98
Email: film@filmfrance.net

Mission Cinema
Michel Gomez
+33 1 44 54 19 60
Email: tournages@paris.fr

Commission Regional du Film Provence-Alpes-Cotes d’Azur
Brigitte Adelaide
+33 4 42 94 92 06
Email: b.adelaide@laregie-paca.com

As Lamassoure puts it, “The French film industry produces about 200 feature films a year, including international hits like the ‘Transporter’ franchise or ‘Taken.’ Many are made entirely by French artists and crews.”