Filming on a remote tropical island may be less expensive and arduous than you think.
“It was always going to be tough filming (in the Caribbean), but I can honestly say Guadeloupe was the easiest of those islands,” says Alex Jones, production exec at U.K. shingle Red Planet.
The company has just embarked on a 20-week shoot there for the third season of “Death in Paradise,” a dramedy, which is co-produced with France’s Atlantique, about a dour British detective sent to work on a Caribbean island. The series, which was commissioned by the U.K.’s BBC and Gaul’s France Televisions, is shot entirely on the island, which, as a French territory, benefits from a range of Gallic production incentives.
These include France’s Tax Rebate for International Production, worth 20% of the amount spent in France or its territories. The production also received 500,000 euros ($650,000) for the last season from the Guadeloupe film and TV fund, and there was a further 10% rebate on local labor costs. Production spend in Guadeloupe for the season totaled $6.2 million.
Jones says that one of the attractions for viewers is the beauty of the locations, which is borne out by comments on the show’s Facebook page. “During the bleak winter months, they are tuning in for their dose of Caribbean island escapism,” he says.
As well as being beautiful, Guadeloupe has a well-developed infrastructure.
“Everybody is always pleasantly surprised at what is available there,” he says. This minimizes what has to be shipped to the location. But Jones adds that crews should be willing to adjust to local conditions.
“Go there with an open mind. Embrace the local culture,” he says.
Among the other French islands keen to draw productions to their shores is “Reunion,” located in the southwestern Indian Ocean.
Recent projects shot there include Yvan le Moine’s Franco-Belgian pic “Rosenn,” toplining Rupert Everett and Beatrice Dalle. The film, which had a $5.2 million budget, received $522,000 from the local fund, which can cover up to 35% of local expenses. Rosenn was originally set in Brittany, Northern France, but the producers decided to relocate it during development.
“We try to be pro-active and to be a partner in the production from the beginning,” says Alain Randresy, an exec at the local film commission, Agence Film Reunion, which can contribute toward development costs.
Other French islands include New Caledonia in the South Pacific. A coral reef rings the main island, Grande Terre. New Caledonia has the largest lagoon in the world, as well as tropical forests, mangrove swamps and white-sand beaches.