A wave of filmmakers from China and Hong Kong, including chopsocky legend Jackie Chan, are spending more time than ever shooting in France — lured there by some of the world’s most recognizable icons as they also take advantage of juicy incentives.

Chan says “Chinese Zodiac,” aka “CZ12” which opens in December, is the “most authentic kung fu Jackie Chan movie.” His 100th picture is a globe-trotting actioner, so setting part of the film in France was a no-brainer.

The shoot took the filmmakers to Paris and to the Chateau de Chantilly in Picardy.

Nearly 800 films were made in China last year, and there’s a boom in the number of local TV stations generating their own content. In looking for locations, a growing number is turning to France as a place to shoot.

In addition to its other enticements, Chinese filmmakers find Gaul’s regulatory environment refreshing.

China is also making a major play as a co-production venue, but there are still many bureaucratic hurdles to cross, not to mention issues like censorship.

Wong Kar-wai’s latest movie “The Grandmasters” has entrusted its vfx work and a big part of post-production to the Paris-based BUF shingle.

“Grandmasters” and “CZ12” also pulled down France’s Tax Rebate for Intl. Production (TRIP), tabbed at 20% of French spend.

It’s not just big pics that are shooting in Gaul.

Indie filmmaker Hu Yujiang made “Fuyun falanxi” (Drifting Across France) in 2011 and it will screen this year at Cannes.

“France is a symbol of romance and beauty, with an attractive culture that is different from China’s,” Hu says.

Even though it was a low-budget movie, there was lots of flexibility, and no government interference in the project.

Franck Priot, COO of Film France, confirms that his org has noticed a surge in the number of Chinese productions.

Chinese filmmakers are also looking to shoot in Paris because their yuan currency is very strong against the euro right now.

Plus, “setting a movie in France adds a kind of imaginary value that brings the production to a new level. We have the Eiffel Tower — everyone on the planet knows where that is,” Priot says. “But we need to make filmmakers more aware of the incentives to shoot here.”

Scout & About: Paris/Ile de France 2012
TRIP’s next step is going abroad | Besson-built studio beckons bizzers | Pushing local biz, pulling int’l prods
Case Studies
‘Chinese Zodiac’ | ‘Despicable Me” | ‘Odd Thomas’