Luc Besson invites public to co-produce film

EuropaCorp, Orange team for movie production website

PARIS -- French indie studio EuropaCorp. is putting production of its next movie into the hands of French cinephiles with new website in partnership with France Telecom subsidiary Orange, both groups announced Friday.

As of the launch of the site on Friday, web users can participate in all aspects of production from script to screen through an interactive community website.

Users will be involved in all stages of production from choosing from five different scripts to voting on director, cast and music and can even opt to finance the film themselves. Financiers will receive a cut from the film's boxoffice revenue once it is released in theaters. EuropaCorp. hopes to release the as-yet-untitled project in the fall of 2011.

"We're very interested in uniting technology and creation," Orange's director of content Xavier Couture said at a press conference in Paris on Friday, adding: "We're giving public audiences the opportunity to co-produce a movie with the best producer out there, Luc Besson."

Besson has also put together a "panel of experts" to add a professional touch to the public project. The "experts," who include directors, actors, screenwriters, producers, cameramen and set designers will be called on to support web users in their voting process and comment on the project's development. The site is being launched in French, but is accessible to Internet users across the globe.

Besson claims that his motivation behind the project is combating Internet piracy. "Because of piracy issues, we as producers have this image of being the 'bad guys' among Internet users. It's time to revive the dialogue between us," Besson said at the press conference. He added: "It's our way of telling web users: Don't wage war with us. Learn how to make a movie with us, and then you'll understand what's at stake when you illegally download films."

Pay TV portal Orange Cinema Series has pre-bought the broadcast rights to the film, but funding for the project has yet to be secured. Besson estimates that the budget, which will be decided upon by participants, will be between €5 million and €10 million ($6.2 million – $12.4 million).

Internet users will have the choice to financially invest in the film or simply get involved in the creative production process, but for further incentive to join the online production party, Besson said: "The first 10,000 people to sign up will be featured in the end credits of the film."
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