The issues surrounding the Cité du Cinéma
by Fabien Lemercier
- The Cité du Cinéma, officially launched last Friday, holds great potential to attract international productions. All that's missing is better tax credit.
It was officially launched amid media frenzy last Friday. The Cité du Cinéma, dreamt up by Luc Besson years ago, has finally become reality in Saint-Denis, just outside Paris. Its already functional nine film sets (from 600 to 2,100 metres square, 50 % of which were funded by EuropaCorp with Euro Media and Quinta) have everything to compete with the great British studios and those of Eastern Europe: ultra-modern design, proximity to the Paris city centre, a great pool of high quality technicians in the Ile-de-France region, world-famous French know-how in special effects…
But competition between film studios also comes down to tax incentives. This is why French cinema professionals are lobbying t0 remove the ceiling on international tax credit (now limited to €4m and 20 % of a film's expenditures in France), as it is not competitive enough compared to systems set up in many other countries. It's a delicate lobbying campaign in a national economic climate of public expenses reduction, but one that holds valid growth arguments, as it has previously been shown that each euro invested in tax credit reaps excellent effects in terms of economic activity.
The Cité du Cinéma could also play a role in reducing the tendency of French films to relocate and film outside the country (read more). On his blog, Manuel Alduy (director of cinema at Canal +, the main funder for French films) underlines that "the issue is first and foremost industrial. Too much filming takes place abroad. Especially in Belgium and Luxembourg. These neighbours' fiscal dumping is staggering. What if television channels pre-acquired these French films that are relocating at a lower price? The measure may seem frightening to some in the profession. It's a great paradox that our national system, so virtuous in almost completely funding up to 200 films a year, be incapable of imagining a coercive move against such disloyal competition."
Beyond its studios, the Cité du Cinéma (51,000 metres square in total) also shelters the prestigious Louis-Lumière School, a free film school founded by Luc Besson, an auditorium, and office spaces where numerous companies from the film industry have already set up shop.
(Translated from French)
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