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Bon anniversaire to Studios de Paris

Studios de ParisIn July 2012, a shiny new studio complex opened on the outskirts of Paris, called La Cite du Cinema & Studios de Paris, with the official inauguration following in September.  The studio’s Pascal Becu gave us an insight into the facilities on offer, as well as details of some of the projects that have filmed there since its opening.

The location

La Cite du Cinema & Studios de Paris is situated in Saint-Denis, on the banks of the river Seine. It is ten minutes away from the city centre, and around 15 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport.

The facts and figures

Cite du Cinema and Studios de Paris comprises: 9,500sqm of sound stages; nine sets with grids, ranging from 600-2000sqm and five tanks, varying in size from 150-4200sqm. In total, there are 12,000sqm of facilities dedicated to film production.

In addition to the studios and tanks, there is parking for over 450 cars, a wood mill, a painting area, make-up and wardrobe rooms, VIP rooms, digital printing service and digital cutting workshop, and a digital factory made up of production and post-production facilities.

The clients

In the last 12 months, the Studios de Paris have hosted five feature films, a TV drama and several commercials.

The studio staff saw big names arriving to use the new complex when Luc Besson moved in with his feature Malavita, aka The Family, starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. The darkly comic film follows the fortunes of a Mafia family as they are moved to a quiet French town for their own protection after informing on the mob.

Fred Cavaye directed Vincent Lindon and Gilles Lellouche there in Mea Culpa, a comedy in which the lives of two cops begin to unravel after they hit a car while driving home from a job.

Director Raja Gosnell also chose the studio to film The Smurfs 2, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Sofia Vergara.

More Hollywood stars arrived in 2012 in the shape of Kevin Costner and Hailee Steinfeld, who co-star in Three Days to Kill. Directed by McG, the feature centres on a dying secret service agent who is trying to re-establish a relationship with his estranged daughter.

And veteran French director Alain Resnais – now 91 - used Studios de Paris for Aimer, Boire et Chanter, loosely based on the Alan Ayckbourn play Life of Riley. The film, which is the third from the director to be inspired by the English playwright’s work, stars Sabine Azema, Hippolyte Girardot and Andrew Dussollier.

TV drama Y'a pas d’age also used the new complex, as did various production companies making commercials for Chanel, L’Oreal and Givenchy.

And last but not least, the most famous rock group in the world, The Rolling Stones, shot their video for Doom and Gloom at the brand new studios.

The site has also played host to events such as the UNITAID dinner in May, at which Bill Clinton was the speaker.

The incentives

It is anticipated that the amount of studio bookings will continue to rise this year, as the rebate for international projects takes hold.

Under the TRIP scheme (Tax Rebate for International Production), productions that meet several criteria, including spending a minimum of €1m on eligible expenses in France, and shooting for at least five days in France, may qualify for this rebate. Although the cap is currently set at €4m, this could well rise over the next few years.

The outlook

The last word goes to Studios de Paris’ Pascal Becu, who said: “We are very optimistic about the coming months, in terms of our future projects.” And with France continuing to be increasingly attractive to productions from countries with growing film industries such as China and India, the outlook is certainly positive. 

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