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Olivier-René Veillon, DG, Paris Film Commission, tells Rohini Nag Madnani in an exclusive chat why Paris is the perfect location for your next film

What benefits do the Film Commission or the government offer foreign film producers?

France has established a Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP) that reimburses 30 per cent of the eligible costs of foreign movies and TV productions shot in France, provided that they comply with a set of requirements. This refundable incentive, which can reach up to € 30 million, is also open to animation and VFX projects made partly or completely by a French studio. Since its implementation, the TRIP has already been granted to more than 110 foreign productions.

What is specific to France is that there is no minimum budget. To be eligible for the TRIP, the minimum spend has to be 250,000 euros OR 50 per cent of the total budget to be spent in France. For that reason, small projects such short films, independent films or even one TV episode can be eligible.

How can a filmmaker approach you with a project to be shot in your country?

He should contact the French Embassy in Delhi or Film France in Paris and we would be delighted to help all Indian filmmakers and producers willing to shoot in our country.

Film France, together with the team at the French Embassy, will give you all the information you need about our incentives but, more importantly, guide all producers or filmmakers in the pre-production phase: assistance in finding adequate French executive producers, advising on locations in France (in Paris but also the very diverse locations that France offers) and put you in touch with all the local film commissions and tourism boards who will help and support the production in various ways. Contact: Reghu Devaraj : [email protected] / Melanie : [email protected]

Is there any potential for co-productions, for Indian film producers?

Yes. France has been an important co-production partner for Indian films for years. Independent films formed the majority of co-productions but in recent years, we have witnessed a change in scale. First, the international success of The Lunchbox is the perfect testimony for it but more and more important production houses from India and France are starting ambitious projects with international goals.

What, according to you, makes France an exquisite destination for shooting an Indian film?

France has such a strong collective image. It is considered, for the right reasons, the country of culture, heritage, monuments, gastronomy, fashion and art de vivre. It is also the image of love.

It has such a strong cinematographic feel. A scene in France in any film can immediately be identified but it also opens up in the audience imagination a whole array of feelings and images… a whole universe.

France is also not only Paris. Paris is such a wonderful city for cinema. In one shot, one immediately conveys so much subtext (love, romanticism, history and heritage) and allows the audience to know exactly where the action is. It has such a powerful identity.

France has a lot to offer Indian films. Our country is so diverse in terms of landscapes, from big cities, to very isolated charming villages; form high mountains, to diverse sea landscapes such as the Riviera but also Britany or the ocean seaside. Our heritage is so well preserved that it provides strong and powerful visual backgrounds, from medieval castles to Renaissance ones on the Loire River; from Roman ruins in the South of France to 19th century buildings in various cities.

Finally, France, being the country where cinema was invented, has a strong tradition of making films. For that reason, like India, our industry can offer all facilities: professional crews, world-renowned directors of photography or post-production supervisors.

Can you tell us about what the Paris region film commission does?  

The Paris region film commission promotes and facilitates production activities in their area and assists crews with all types of productions (feature films, television programmes, commercials and music videos).  We also provide free assistance in the following areas:

Information about locations and pre-scouting

Search for crew, cast and extras (casting facilities are available in most film offices)

Administrative procedures, assistance in obtaining filming permits

Logistical and diverse information (vehicle rental, accommodation, etc)

Production office facilities and documentation

Relations with the press and local authorities

Information about local incentives (other than TRIP, a producer can also apply for a grant from the region. A commission will decide on the attribution amount of the grant).

What make the French incentives unique?

The French tax incentive system has the virtue of being simple and transparent, efficiently managed by the CNC (National Center for Cinema), an administration dedicated to cinema. It is one of the most generous in the world.

Any anecdotes about film production in Paris?

With 1,500 productions of all types being shot in the Paris region every year, there would be many stories to tell. For instance, the shooting of Midnight In Paris, the wonderful film of Woody Allen, was very close to the experience of the film itself, Woody Allen, being inspired by its night walks in Paris, added new scenes to the story inspired by locations he discovered. Paris has been the writing force behind the script. 

Any specific rebates?

The minimum budget which has to be spent to have access to the tax rebate will be reduced to 250,000 euros in days to come.

How easy is to shoot in Paris?

There are no major difficulties and every place in the city is accessible. The most important thing is to have good preparation with the highly specialised teams of the city of Paris and of the Préfecture de Police, which guarantee the security of the shoot.

What is the best time to shoot in Paris?

Any time is good but, of course, the quality of the light is better from March to October, the weather being sunnier in summer, the most intense period for shooting (more than ten crews shooting every day).  But the activity is permanent and every day of the year can be a shooting day.

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