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Paris Sees 26% Hike in International Shoots

Sherlock Holmes A Game Shadow
Warner Brothers

On any given day in Paris last year, an average of 10 projects were filming.

PARIS - Paris was very en vogue for foreign films last year with the City of Lights boasting a 26 percent rise in international productions shooting in the capital according to figures from the city’s film bureau Mission Cinema.

The city was also a popular spot for hometown production welcoming 940 film and TV projects for 3,707 days of shooting, a 40 percent jump over the past six years.

On a given day in Paris last year, an average of 10 projects were shooting. Some 130 feature films were shot in the capital last year for a total of 1, 278 days of shooting. One of out every two French films made last year was filmed in Paris.

Guy Ritchie’s Christmas release Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows shot in Paris thanks to the TRIP tax rebate for foreign production that allows international productions to receive a maximum 20 percent of local expenditure in rebates. David Mackenzie’s Killer Elite, Daniel Espinosa’s Safe House and James Bobin’s The Muppets all shot in the capital, but weren’t eligible for the rebate since they didn’t spend enough time or money in town to qualify.

Leos Carax’s Holly Motors recently drew attention when the title shot scenes with Eva Mendes in Paris’ famed Pere Lachaise cemetery. Hollywood wasn’t the only visitor to the capital this year – projects from 12 different countries shot in the city.

Other TRIP-friendly titles included Sandra Nettelbeck’s Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, a German majority co-production with Belgium with Sidney Kimmel on board stateside and Jackie Chan’s martial arts film Chinese Zodiac from China.

2010 saw Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese head to the capital for their projects and, while 2011 was quieter on the Western country’s film front in that regard, the city continues to attract projects thanks to initiatives like the Paris Film Office’s Mission Cinema and the city’s police force.

“Paris confirms its rank among the world’s filming capitals, thanks to its charm and history; but also thanks to the dedication of the Paris Film office and the Prefecture, which makes possible to shoot in all these streets despite the fact they’ve been designed centuries before the invention of the herd of trucks needed by the productions!” National Film Commission Film France’s Franck Priot told THR.

While fewer Hollywood films may have benefited from the TRIP rebate last year, spending from Hollywood actually increased when taking in mind VFX and animation collaborations. The visual effects for Xavier Gens’ Anchor Bay title The Divide and Fox’s The Darkest Hour were done in France. “Globally, the world of filmed entertainment is heading from the ‘filmed’ to the ‘calculated.’ From Merlin on TV to Hugo in live action, animation’s role is constantly becoming more important,” Priot said.

Hollywood may be continuing its love affair with France, but China has also been increasingly present in the country, specifically in Paris. Chinese productions multiplied by five in 2011 in France and Film France even plans to hire a Chinese-speaking collaborator to help the team welcome foreign productions in 2012.

“2011 saw a boom in Chinese production in France. The trend has been confirmed and we’re going to focus on this constantly evolving market,” Priot said.

The Misson Cinema bureau was created in 2002 by Paris’ mayor Bertrand Delanoe.