U.S. scribes attend France: Unlimited Access

Ten screenwriters selected for the eight-day program

PARIS -- Top U.S. screenwriters will be pushing their scripts over the borderline when the third annual "France: Unlimited Access" program kicks off on Sept. 19th in Metz and Nantes, French film commission Film France announced Monday.

After a first edition in Paris, Marseille and Provence followed by last year's romp through French Polynesia, this year, the program is titled "Cities on the Borders: Metz & Nantes."

Ten of Hollywood's finest scribes have been selected for the eight-day program organized by Film France and the Los Angeles Film and Television Office of the French Embassy with the help of the Lorraine and Loire Valley regions and several sponsors.

This year's crop of studio-friendly screenwriters includes: Stuart Beattie ("Collateral," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Derailed," "3:10 to Yuma," "Australia," "G.I. Joe."), John Brancato and Michael Ferris ("The Game," "Terminator 3," "Terminator 4," "The Net," "Clones" and the upcoming "xXx3."), Peter Buchman ("Che"), Katherine Fugate ("Valentine's Day," "The Prince & Me," "Carolina" plus TV series "Army Wives" and "Xena: Warrior Princess"), Anya Kochoff ("Monster-in-Law"), David Hayter ("X-Men," "The Scorpion King," "X2: XMen United," "Watchmen"), Steven Maeda (TV series "Miami Medical," "Lie to Me," "Day Break," "Lost," "CSI: Miami," "X-Files," "Le Royaume") and Josh Olson ("A History of Violence," "One Shot," "Until Gwen").

The "France: Unlimited Access" program is not only aimed at feature films, but also hopes to bring more TV series across French borders thanks to writers like Katherine Fugate and Steven Maeda who have been successful behind the scenes of the small screen.

Film France is hoping that the program will motivate U.S. screenwriters to include France in their scripts so that the future productions will film in that territory.

"Filmmakers come to France to shoot the country for what it is, not just to have the decor serve as a means of recreating another country, as is the case in places like Morocco or Canada or Eastern Europe. If there aren't any good scripts that include France, then there won't be any films made here," deputy director of Film France Franck Priot said in an interview.

The "TRIP" tax credit for foreign productions launched in Gaul last year has sparked an onslaught of Hollywood productions in France, but most have been concentrated in Paris. Film France is hoping that the "France: Unlimited Access" program will see more U.S. films, notably at the studio level, head to its other regions, specifically Nantes and Metz.

"Even if the result of all this is that one script is written about France and a U.S. production team comes to shoot for just one week, that will represent at least $1 million of spending in the country and that's more than positive, "Priot said. He added: "We have a lot to gain from this initiative."