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Gaul to up film tax rebates

Country aims to lure more productions

PARIS

Gaul is set to amend its tax incentives to attract more film and TV productions and boost its ailing economy.

Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault unveiled a report on Friday highlighting various ways to create jobs, generate wealth and bolster the country’s international standing.

Passed in 2004, the 20% rebate for national production is set at €1 million ($1.27 million), while the 20% international tax rebate (called TRIP), passed in late 2008, is set at $5 million and requires producers to spend a minimum of $1.27 million in France to be eligible.

Besides raising the caps on both programs, the reform will also lower the amount of expenses that have to be spent in France (below $1.27 million) to attract small- and medium-budget films, according to Franck Priot, co-managing topper at Film France.

Bizzers — including Film France, technicians’ guild Ficam, and the national film board CNC — have been lobbing for higher rebates for over two years, pointing to the growing number of runaway shoots and Gaul’s inability to compete with Germany, the U.K., Belgium and Canada, which offer more generous incentives.

Ayrault’s report is a significant leap forward, per Priot. “It shows that the French government is at last truly committed to amending these tax incentives.”

The new caps, which have yet to be decided, must pass Gaul’s Parliament and Senate.

TRIP had a powerful effect in the two years after its late 2008 bow, attracting a record number of foreign productions, including Chris Meledandri’s toon “Despicable Me,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.”

But in 2011 and this year, the number of big-budget U.S. productions — particularly live-action films — heading to France has declined.

According to Film France, foreign prods will nevertheless bring in an estimated $127 million in 2012, thanks to pics including Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac,” and TV skeins “Merlin” and “The Tunnel” the French-U.K. remake of “The Bridge.” Kevin Costner starrer “Three Days to Kill” is the lasted project that received TRIP financing.

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