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Three Far-Flung French Islands Offer Rebates, Resources

Three far-flung French islands offer rebates and resources

GUADELOUPE
Boasting scenic volcanoes, over 500 waterfalls, 64 churches and postcard-worthy beaches — not to mention a gritty industrial zone — Guadeloupe is quickly becoming the most popular shooting location in the French Caribbean.

As an overseas territory of France, the island offers international producers the same 20% tax rebate, capped at €10 million ($13 million) with a minimum of $1.3 million in local expenditure required.

On top of the tax break, producers looking to shoot in Guadeloupe can tap into the $187,000 Guyana fund and a $2.6 million regional fund. Another useful trick: working with a local production office allows a saving of up to 16% on crew pays, points out Tony Coco-Viloin, managing director of the Guadeloupe film commission, which was created five years ago and collaborates closely with Film France to lure foreign shoots.

“We’re the only French territory in the American zone of the Caribbeans and we’re truly multilingual: We speak Spanish, Creole, French and English,” Coco-Viloin says.

The filming of “Death in Paradise,” an English-language TV comedy-crimer produced by BBC and French pubcaster France Televisions, has served as a promotional launchpad for the island, allowing it to showcase its industry, crews and locations, Coco-Viloin says. The TV show also been highly beneficial to the local economy — measurably reducing the unemployment rate by 2.5 percentage points, he adds. All three seasons of the skein generated more than 300 days of shooting and lensed in Guadeloupe, employing scores of technicians, actors and extras.

Guadeloupe is preparing for more and more shoots: It celebrated the launch of equipment rental house Panavision Caraibes at Cannes and will be bowing its first TV and film training center in September. Two French features will be lensing there during the third quarter.

CORSICA
With its picturesque fortresses and rocky coastlines overlooking the Mediterranean, Corsica has long been luring filmmakers looking for diverse landscapes and mild weather.

As part of France, the island boasts Gaul’s Trip (tax rebate for international production):  A 20% tax break capped at €10 million ($13 million), requiring $1.3 million in local expenditures.

Meanwhile, the regional fund, only available to French-majority co-productions, is capped at $195,000 per feature film project and requires a minimum spending of $292,500 in Corsica. TV series can get up to $260,000. In 2012, the fund injected an estimated $3.38 million.

Corsica was repped in Cannes with local helmer Thierry de Peretti’s “Les Apaches,” which played at Directors’ Fortnight. Recent shoots include Fabrice Begotti’s comedy “Les Francis,” produced by Thomas Langmann’s La Petite Reine and Save Ferris.

Financially back by the regional fund, Canal Plus series “Mafiosa” is shooting its fifth season in Corsica. Season 4, helmed by a Corsican director, Pierre Leccia, shot on location for 41 days, received $234,000.

Since 2008, as many as 28 features have lensed there, according to Corsica Pole Tournage, which is responsible for coordinating shoots. Notable shoots include Bela Tarr’s 2007 Cannes contender “The Man From London.”

LA REUNION
Located near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, La Reunion has become a top vacation spot thanks to its white and black sand beaches. Filmmakers, meanwhile, perceive the island as a dramatic backdrop. The island’s most cinematic assets are two Hawaian-style volcanos, each boasting heavily forested slopes. Locations include lagoons, waterfalls and a coral reef.

As an overseas territory of France, La Reunion provides international producers the same tax rebate plan: a 20% tax break capped at €10 million ($1.3 million), with a minimum of $1.3 million in local expenditure required. A $3.9 million regional fund applies to approximately 50 projects every year.

Yvan Le Moine’s “Rosenn,” starring Rupert Everett, and Catherine Castel’s “Belle comme la femme d’un autre,” starring Olivier Marchal (“Braquo”) and Audrey Fleurot (“The Intouchables”) are some of the recent films that shot on the Island.

La Reunion is home to more than 49 production companies, over 150 film technicians, and 500 actors and extras.

Shoots are coordinated by Alain Randresy at Agence Film Reunion, which works hand-in-hand with Paris-based Film France.

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