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France is a great place for international shoots, say producers


- CANNES 2021: The role of France as a leading player driving the global film industry’s recovery has taken centre stage at one of the round-tables organised by the CNC

France is a great place for international shoots, say producers
Wes Anderson speaking in a video message during the event

On 8 July, the CNC organised a round-table entitled “Venir tourner en France” (lit. “Coming to Film in France”) as part of the daily session “L’export et l’attractivité à l’international, un enjeu pour notre industrie cinématographique” (lit. “Overseas Export and Drawing Power, a Challenge for Our Film Industry”). The one-hour event was held at Plage du Gray d'Albion during this year’s Cannes Film Festival (6-17 July).

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​The CNC’s director of European and International Affairs, Mathieu Fournet (see the interview), introduced the event with a brief speech focusing on the crucial role currently being played by France, a leading player in terms of driving the global recovery of the sector. Among other measures and strategies, Fournet mentioned massive investments in new studio facilities to attract international shoots, a brand-new office set to open in Los Angeles with two permanent employees, the exceptional stimulus measures to fight the pandemic, and the recent merger between TVFI and Unifrance.

Fournet’s speech was followed by a video message recorded by Wes Anderson, director of The French Dispatch [+see also:
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, one of this year’s Palme d’Or contenders. The helmer praised France’s locations and creatives, highlighting how the country is an inspiring place for filming and how he found the right space there to recreate his own “piece of French cinema”.

Next, Film France’s general delegate, Stephan Bander, introduced the speakers – namely, producers John Bernard, Corinne Golden Weber and Liz Trubridge. Bernard praised the “savoir faire” of local crew and studios as well as the country’s tax credit, pointing out how essential prep work is in order to shoot in France, and how strengthened investments in studio facilities helped him to do things that wouldn’t have been feasible “just five years ago”. Trubridge agreed on the high level of professionalism and technical support, mentioning the excellent work of drone operators, among other things.

Speaking about the most surprising aspects of filming in France, Trubridge mentioned, “You see instantaneously how effortless the French-British ‘fusion’ works.” Weber added that after living in France for a decade, she is amazed to see how the French system works – in particular, the CNC and all of the national institutions supporting filmmakers. She also praised the creative and practical contributions made by crews consisting mainly of local manpower. These aspects, in her opinion, do not come as a surprise, but rather as a “validation” of her lengthy experience in the country’s film industry. Meanwhile, Bernard waxed lyrical about local professionals’ high level of efficiency.

A short Q&A session followed, where a possible area of improvement was identified in the creation of new backlots. However, it is still necessary to pay attention to the issue of sound, Bernard argued, as many backlots don’t take this aspect into consideration, and this can affect the quality of the footage. Nevertheless, “The overall French studio space is significantly better today and bodes well for the future,” he added.

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