Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • US warns Russia against making ‘expensive mistake’ in Ukraine

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • French policemen accused of raping Canadian woman

    Read more

  • Internet should stay free of government intervention, conference says

    Read more

  • A radio station defends peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • Ferry disaster, nuclear test fears cloud Obama’s South Korea trip

    Read more

  • Fresh clashes in Rio over dancer's death

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

Culture

Luc Besson unveils 'Cinema City' production studio in Paris

©

Latest update : 2012-09-22

French filmmaker Luc Besson unveiled a new studio complex on Friday that will offer high-grade film services right on the outskirts of Paris. Cinema City will provide costume and model-building as well as production and post-production facilities.

French filmmaker Luc Besson cut the ribbon Friday on his "Film City", a vast studio complex created in a disused power station to offer Hollywood-style facilities right on the edge of Paris.

"I had always said I'd love to make our own films here in France," Besson told an opening ceremony under the glass and steel vaults of the 1930s plant, a giant turbine brightly painted by local street artists towering in its centre.

"Whereas Americans say 'Yes We Can', here in France our motto tends to be 'Dream On!'. Pessimism is something of a national sport."

"So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in this dream," the 53-year-old director and producer told the gathering of French politicians, film executives and project partners.

The 170-million-euro "Cite du Cinema", a project 12 years in the making, aims to plug a gap in the French production landscape, as a studio able to see a movie project through from A to Z, just next to the world's most filmed city.

As well as nine film sets, totalling 9,500 square metres, it houses a vast office complex including EuropaCorp's new headquarters, carpentry, costume and model-making workshops, production and post-production facilities.

"France has Europe's biggest film industry and yet until now it was the only European country without the infrastructure to produce a film," said Christophe Lambert, general director of Besson's production firm EuropaCorp.

Back in 1997, Besson had to spend 18 months in Britain to shoot his sci-fi blockbuster "The Fifth Element".

"I went with a heavy heart," recalled the director.

So in 2000, the filmmaker set out to create a studio complex that would make it possible to create a film in France from A to Z.

For the site he chose an Art Deco-style former thermal power plant in Saint Denis, a working class north Paris suburb, which he had used to shoot scenes from two hitman dramas, the 1990 "Nikita" and the 1994 "The Professional".

Besson started filming there again this summer for his new movie "Malavita" a Mafia drama starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, who were expected for a private inauguration dinner Friday night with the likes of Jean Dujardin.

And for everybody else, the site is being thrown open Saturday for a one-off tour of what is being dubbed "Hollywood on Seine".

At the opening, Besson recalled how as a teenager, he would slip unnoticed into the old studios at Boulogne near Paris, and how later he was blown away by a visit to Universal Studios in California.

"I have always loved film studios," he said. "A film set is like the operating theatre for a surgeon, or the kitchen for a chef."

The Cite du Cinema also hosts the Louis Lumiere National film school, as well as a second film school, created by Besson to offer screenwriting and directing courses, free of charge, to some 60 youths with no prior qualifications.

"The students will rub shoulders with Hollywood stars at the cafeteria," joked Lambert.

Besson's production firm EuropaCorp purchased the site in 2006, but the project nearly ground to a halt the following year for lack of funds.

The full financing came together in 2008, with Nef-Lumiere, owned by France's Caisse des Depots and the Vinci conglomerate, acquiring the office complex, and a conglomerate of investors including EuropaCorp financing the studio complex.

The Cite du Cinema aims to rival British studios like Pinewood or Shepperton, as well as rising competition from lower-cost eastern European locations like Bulgaria. Its backers argue that its proximity to Paris more than compensates for its lack of a backlot, or outdoor shooting area.

It aims to capture big budget French projects, two thirds of which were shot outside the country in the first semester of 2012, as well as foreign films.

"This is good news for the profession," commented Franck Priot, deputy head of the French film commission, FilmFrance, whose job it is to attract foreign film shoots to the country.

EuropaCorp says it is fielding quote requests from top French and US producers and predicts the studio will be fully booked within a year. According to one estimate, it need to attract two major productions per year to cover its operating costs.

(AFP) 

Date created : 2012-09-21

  • CINEMA

    Deauville film festival pays tribute to American films

    Read more

  • CINEMA

    'The Artist': From French risk to Hollywood juggernaut

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Libya rebellion film premieres at Cannes

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)