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FILM

French culture minister woos Hollywood studios

France is making a push this week to reel in blockbuster movie productions, pitching a new tax rebate for foreign productions to the heads of Hollywood studios.

French culture minister woos Hollywood studios
Pellerin with Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. Photo: AFP

Eyeing dollar signs and publicity, countries around the globe are keen to attract big budget films to their patch – and competition is fierce.

“The financial stakes are high since there is a direct and an indirect impact … for every euro spent on a shoot, three euros go toward social security, VAT (value-added tax) and so on,” French Culture Minister  Fleur Pellerin told AFP in an interview.

“But beyond that, scenes shot in France will make people want to come see these landscapes and that has an impact on the local economy,” she added.

On January 1st, France raised its tax rebate for international productions from 20 to 30 percent. It is now also available for big movie projects – not just ones with budgets of up to $4 million.

“We had some interesting tax credits for medium-sized productions,” Pellerin said, adding that she would “now also like to attract shoots with budgets of $80 million to $100 million.”

The new incentive already seems to have garnered some positive reactions from possible contenders.

“I just met with Lionsgate who told me that the tax credit hike was very interesting,” Pellerin said of one studio.

Pellerin said that France had a higher tax rebate scheme than London's 25 percent and that it was now more competitive than Belgium and Luxembourg. Certain Eastern European countries, however, do better in the sense that they do not have a tax rebate ceiling. France's ceiling is 30 million euros.

With its move, Paris hopes to reverse a worrying development – while the production of French feature films reached a record 189 last year, it came with the exodus of 36 percent of shoots, particularly big budget ones.

Pellerin said the effect of the hike was “already being felt.”

“Some directors were going to shoot abroad and are now going to do so in France,” she said.

“Among American studios, there are decisions on shooting that will be taken and could be now be done in France,” she added.

This year, acclaimed director Christopher Nolan of “The Dark Knight” fame is to film parts of his World War II film “Dunkirk” in northern France.

And according to Variety, the film industry's magazine of reference, Neil Jordan, who won an Oscar for “The Crying Game,” will shoot the crime series “Riviera” in the south of France.

Competition for film shoots is also fierce within the United States. Last year, California boosted its tax incentives in an attempt to make Los Angeles more attractive following a 20-year decline in film shootings in the face of competition from foreign locales or US destinations such as Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico and New York.

Still, despite the tax breaks, shootings stagnated in Los Angeles last year. During her US trip, Pellerin will also be meeting “streaming” giants Netflix and Amazon.

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FILM

French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.

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