The Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris was built to house international students attending the University of Paris. The buildings represent different countries and were designed by internationally renowned architects including Le Corbusier, Willem Marinus Dudok, Heydar Ghiai and Claude Parent. Every year, it’s the location for about 70 film shoots, takes and television programs, and it is one of the top film locations in the Ile-de-France region.
Helene Hernandez, press attache for the Cite Internationale, and Myriam Ghoudi, who is in charge of film shoots, talked to Variety about the location and why it has become such a popular location for film shoots.
In 2013 you said you were trying to continue to raise awareness of the Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris. What have you done to raise awareness? Has it worked?
In a way, the popularity of the Cite Internationale is growing by itself. Of course, there is a team that’s dedicated to its promotion, but the location is so unique that it speaks for itself – it has a natural setting and a grand total of 34ha of land. Our priority is to keep the Park open to each and every opportunity that presents itself. This is key to raising awareness, and so far has worked because we’re booked almost all the time. Over the course of the last few years, we have also tried to professionalize the Cite Internationale, to offer great conditions for every production.
In the past five years, how much more popular has the Cite Internationale become? After recently having “Three Days to Kill” filmed at the location, how do you think a major motion picture will affect future shoots?
As you said, “Three Days to Kill” recently filmed at the Cite Internationale: It’s an excellent example of the development of our activity. In 2013, we hosted five feature films (excluding shoots of commercials or TV shows, which are our daily activity). Before that, it was one feature per year. We cannot exactly predict how “Three Days to Kill” will affect the Cite Internationale over the coming months (or years), but we were very proud to host this French-American production. It’s still unusual for us, but we hope to host more and more international films as time goes by.
You’ve previously mentioned that in addition to being attractive in terms of cost per day of filming, you don’t really have any competition. How are you able to make the Cite Internationale so cost efficient? What other “added bonuses” does the Cite Internationale offer?
Our bonus is the space we can provide. Without saying that there aren’t other interesting filming locations in Paris (because it wouldn’t be true), it is a fact that there is space, a lot of space, to host any big production. Everything is already settled. You can park several cars for all of the equipment that productions tend to need. We also have a team that is working every day of the week to host movies and commercials, which means that there is always someone that will be able to answer you and help you plan your shoot. Our team is used to getting everything ready for the next day.
What does Cite Internationale offer that no other location has? What makes it unique aside from its 40 houses over several different time periods?
In addition to the bonuses we already talked about, here at the Cite Internationale, there are 12,000 residents from 140 different countries, meaning that there are 12,000 potential extras for any international film!
Lastly, what do films stand to gain by filming at the Cite Internationale? What does the location gain? What are you looking forward to in 2014 and beyond?