Paris Images Kicks Off with Digital Summit and Pro Event

Highlights so far include new Digital Creation Genie Awards and Patrice Leconte Masterclass

Paris Images Kicks Off with Digital

The second edition of the Paris Images Trade Show enters its second week with Paris Images Pro (Jan. 28-29) dedicated to digital innovation throughout the audiovisual value chain, spanning 4K viewing, new production and VFX techniques, and new distribution channels. The first day’s highlights included a keynote speech on new consumer electronics trends by strategy consultant Olivier Ezratty and a masterclass with veteran French helmer Patrice Leconte.

Paris Images Pro’s seminars focus on topics such as 4K viewing trends, cloud-based media delivery services, remote production, the Previz on Set project (which allows real-time pre-visualisation for shoots combining live action and computer animation), use of drones in audiovisual productions, and new film exhibition techniques.

The event also showcases the latest trends in audiovisual equipment – with an exhibition area and ateliers on the AJA Cion 4K, Sony F55 4K and Panasonic VariCam 35 film cameras.

The event follows hot on the heels of last week’s two-day Digital Summit (Jan 21-22), dedicated to cutting edge digital production and post-production techniques, including case-studies on some of Gaul’s biggest productions in 2014.

The Paris Images Trade Show is a 3-week umbrella event spanning five different modules. It was launched last year with the goal of reinforcing the competitive offer of French technicians, technical industries and film locations.

The trade show’s final three events take place next week: Paris Images Location Expo (Feb. 3-4), Paris Images Cinema – Dream Industry (Feb. 4-6) and Micro-Salon AFC (Feb. 6-7);

Paris Images is organized by seven entities: the AFC (French Cinematographers Association), the Ile de France Film Commission, IDIFF (Intl. Digital Film Forum), l’Industrie du Reve, CST (a guild for post-production employees), FICAM (the 170-member professional organisation of the French technical industries) and Film France – the country’s national film commission.

This year’s country of honor is China, including a special tribute to Chinese helmer, Wang Chao, whose most recent pic, “Fantasia” played in Un Certain Regard in Cannes in 2014. Paris sales agent, Les Films du Losange sells its international rights.

Launch of an umbrella trade show dedicated to Gaul’s technical sector was one of the recommendations made in a 2013 CNC report which suggested “the creation of a new international brand via a major annual event to promote France’s technical industries, image-producing expertise and artistic contribution to film and television.”

CNC president, Frederique Bredin comments that, “By grouping together five events that showcase these talents and strengths, spanning our artist, technicians and technical industries, including animation and VFX, the Paris Trade Show Images is an ambitious umbrella event. This year’s edition offers a single broad overview of French expertise and in the wake of reform of the tax rebate scheme, this is a strong signal that we’re sending abroad.”

France is one of Europe’s biggest and still best-funded film industries and is involved in virtually half of Europe’s co-productions. 2014 was a particularly strong year for Gallic theatrical releases with a 44% market share for local films, a record total box office of 206 paid million admissions and a further $768 million from 111 million admissions at the international box office.

France is also an attractive film-financing partner due to its extensive public funding system and its competitive tax rebate scheme – including the TRIP scheme for international productions shooting in France – that was upwardly revised in December 2014.

The country houses a world-renowned VFX and animation sector, which positions it, especially the Paris-Ile de France region, as one of Europe’s main production hubs, vying with London. The recent decision by London-based post production house MPC to set up a facility in Paris is further confirmation of Paris’ competitive strength.

Paris Images aims to capitalize on this international positioning and attract both domestic and international industry professionals to the three-week event.

A delegation of leading British line producers will be attending Location Expo, via a joint initiative between film orgs Film London and the Ile de France Film Commission. The two film orgs have a global partnership, which includes co-operation in the organization of the Digital Summit and also the two-day Production Finance Market, held in October in the U.K.

Industry professionals contacted by Variety emphasized that France is slowly waking up to the need to place greater emphasis on its technical industries, both in terms of public support and creative recognition.

The Academy Awards and BAFTA awards have a long tradition of attributing technical kudos, but the French film industry has tended to adopt a more high-brow outlook, with no technical awards included within the Cesar national film prizes and many directors refraining from using VFX.

However, this climate is now changing: Paris Images forms part of that process – helping to generate increasing prestige for Gaul’s technical industries.

“France is one of the few major film-producing countries that doesn’t offer prestigious awards to its technical industries,” suggests Olivier Rene-Veillon, prexy of the Ile de France film commission and co-organizer of the Digital Summit. “The Academy Awards, BAFTA awards and Goya Awards all include technical categories, but French cinema has tended to adopt a more conservative approach. But the new generation of French filmmakers fully embraces the possibilities opened up by digital creation and VFX.”

The Digital Summit launched the new Digital Creation Genie Awards, whose name is inspired by the genie topping the iconic column in the Place de la Bastille in Paris.

The award ceremony was on the evening of Jan. 22, spanning five categories: Best VFX supervisor for feature film, TV show and short respectively, Best Innovation and a Young Talent award. Jury members include producer Alexis Perrin, and helmers Jan Kounen and Olivier Megaton.

A Lifetime Achievement award was given to SFX supervisor Neil Corbould who received four BAFTA Awards and two Oscars for his work on ‘Gravity’ and  has worked with directors such as Richard Donner, David Lynch, Luc Besson, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott.

Overall, the Digital Summit included seminars, round tables, a job fair, a “Disney Art Challenge” exhibition and premieres of “Taken 3,” “Gus” and “Into the Woods,” in the presence of the production teams, accompanied by case-studies.

Case-studies were provided on “Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods,” with presentations by Julien Meesters, Thierry Fournier and Nicolas Trout of Mikros Image, the TV series “Angry Birds” with Damien Simonklein (Rovio Animation Studios) and Alexander Pagot (Creative Cube), “Interstellar,” with Paul Franklin (Double Negative), “Exodus,” with Simon Carr (Method Studios) and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” with Mark Wilson (Framestore).

The Paris Images Trade Show runs Jan 21 – Feb 7.