Paris getting a bigger slice of the action

10% increase in films shot in French capital in 2008

PARIS -- The French capital was back in the limelight last year, registering a 10% increase in films and TV shows shot in 2008, according to figures from the mayor's office.

Half of all French films made last year were shot in Paris, including Pierre Morel's Europcorp title "From Paris with Love," Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Mics Macs a Tire Largot" and Laurent Tirard's anticipated children's film "Little Nick."

In all, Paris welcomed 840 film shoots in 2008, including 110 feature films. Nine films were shot per day on average in the capital, for a total of 3,339 days of filming.

After a slow year for foreign films in France in 2007, Paris managed to attract Hollywood producers in 2008, even before a new law opening the French tax credit to foreign productions was passed in December.

Five U.S. films were shot in Paris last year, including such high-profile titles as Nora Ephron's "Julia and Julia" and Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

The city should be even more attractive to U.S. producers in 2009, now that the new tax credit is in effect. As of the first week of January, Film France was reporting an expected 180 days of filming for foreign productions in the coming months, far more than during the same period last year.

Woody Allen told France's Cultural Minister in December that he plans to shoot his next project in Paris.

The French film industry is gearing up for a busy 2009 on location in France. While the South of France also is a popular shooting location for U.S. and other foreign productions, Paris remains the most fashionable spot to film in the country.

And, while a global financial crisis and tax breaks in other European regions led U.S. producers to shy away from France-based fare, the new law, which gives foreign film-makers a 20% tax break, with a ceiling of up to 4 million euros ($5.6 million) per movie, is sure to bring Hollywood back to Gaul.

But will 2008's increase in foreign production, coupled with the new tax break spur an invasion of Paris locations in 2009?

"The new tax credit will definitely attract more foreign production in Paris, but it won't cause a huge increase. Even if foreign production doubled, as we hope, it would still remain a moderate increase in overall production in Paris, as we are lucky enough to have a huge national production volume," Film France's deputy director Franck Priot said, adding that foreign productions represent just 10%-15% of annual film production per year in Paris on average, compared with 5% in all of France.