Magazine article Variety

Gaul Leads Euro Charge

Magazine article Variety

Gaul Leads Euro Charge

Article excerpt

Just months after the European Union dropped plans to nix big-bucks rebates for Hollywood blockbusters shooting in Europe, France has further upped the ante and is pushing through multiple measures to make it far more - not less - attractive for Yank titans and smaller foreign fare to shoot in Gaul.

France isn't alone in rolling out the welcome mat for foreign productions. Since 2013, the U.K. has extended rebates to vfx work, animation and TV production, tempting "24" to London. A $27 million Dutch fund for international productions launches in 2014.

But in bidding to lure runaway shoots, few countries have been as aggressive as France. Just last year, the ceiling per movie for Gaul's Tax Rebate for Inti. Production (Trip) was upped from euro4 million ($5.5 million) to $13.7 million, then to $27.4 million.

"Few movies, if any, spend $135 million in Europe. A $27 million cap on a 20% of spend rebate is like having no cap at all," says Franck Priot, chief operating officer of Film France, a network of Gallic film commissions.

Once more restrictive than neighboring schemes, with not only a lower relief ceiling but a narrower range of eligible expenses, the French rebate program has, over the years, become more flexible. Since 2013, hotel accommodation qualifies for Trip spend. In CGI and animation, fantasy creatures and unrecognizable locations are no longer written off as non-French in culture-criteria tests that foreign shoots face to qualify for Trip.

"All Europe's tax rebates have cultural tests. France's, we're convinced, are the most open," Priot adds.

Inaugurated in 2009, France's Trip put the country on the international shoot map. It also meant movies set in France usually shoot in France.

In another initiative, seven Gallic production orgs - including the CNC film board, Ile de France Film Commission, Film France and France's Ficam technicians' association - have teamed to create the Paris Images trade show in 2014, grouping together four events: Dream Industry, a craft/technicians' conference, which will study Franco-German co-production and creative collaboration (Jan. 26-31); high-tech seminar IDIFF (Jan. 28-29); cinematographers' meet Micro-Salon (Feb. 7-8); and the Ile de France Location Expo (Feb. 13-14).

Why is France increasing its big-bucks shoot lures?

Setting out to slash non-E. …

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