France ups production incentives

Cap for int'l rebate raised to $12.9 mil

PARIS

Gallic pols are aiming to make the country more attractive for foreign shoots.

The French National Assembly plans to boost tax rebates for international and local film and TV productions.

The 20% cap on the Tax Rebate for Intl. Production, known as Trip, will be upped from €4 million ($5.15 million) to $12.9 million, while the ceiling on the 20% rebate for national production will rise from $1.29 million to $5.15 million.

Industryites also won another battle: the cost of accommodation (up to $349 per night) and restaurant expenses will now be eligible expenditures for the rebate.

International TV drama series shot in a language other than French — previously excluded from the rebate program — will now be eligible to a rebate capped at $6,470 a minute. Skeins must have a minimum budget of $45,318 per minute to qualify and at least 35% of the budget must come from international sources.

“This is a giant leap forward,” said Film France Commission managing director Patrick Lamassoure. “It shows that in spite of the difficult economic context, the government and deputies understood the necessity of improving our tax incentives to strengthen our film and TV sector, and put the country on an equal footing with other territories, notably Germany.”

This year, more than 30% of all French films, and 70% of French productions budgeted above $12,941 shot abroad, according to Film France data.

Upping the international tax rebate is timely since France now boasts Luc Besson’s mega-studio, Cite du Cinema, which could lure producers looking to shoot more than just locations and therefore spend more than $22.8 million in Gaul, explained Lamassoure.

The rebate raise will have a major impact, said Marc Missonnier, prexy of French producers’ guild APC, and a producer at Fidelite Films, the outfit behind $77.6 million “Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia,” one of last year’s biggest-budget runaway shoots.

Missonnier and production partner Olivier Delbosc are prepping a sequel to “Le Petit Nicolas,” which was the highest-grossing French pic in 2009, and will likely shoot in France if the rebate increase is passed. Budgeted at $29.3 million, “Nicolas” shot for the most part in Belgium.

Changes to the tax rebate programs must now be approved by the Senate and then sent to the European Commission for approval.

France is leading the fight against the EC’s moves to limit tax rebates and coin for non-European shoots as part of its rewriting of the Cinema Communication regulation.

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