Monday, 2 November 2009

The Lure Of The $

For years, US producers shied away from filming in the French capital unless for films with an excessively high budget as Paris as a film location suffered from the reputation of being outrageously expensive.
This, however, is now beginning to change as France is beginning to copy the film and subsidies policy of its neighbour to the east: Germany, waking up to the lure of the Big Bucks.

Through a clever subsidies policy that grants attractive tax breaks and money injections to films shot on location in Germany, for years, the German government has succesfully lured an increasing number of US film productions to its turf, notably Berlin and the Studio Babelsberg, loacted in nearby Potsdam. The truth of the matter is, that although US films - usually US-German coproductions such as The Reader (Germany/ USA 2008), Inglorious Basterds (Germany/ USA 2009) or Valkyrie (Germany/ USA 2008), etc. - do indeed receive generous subsidies coming from the German Government Film Fund, the film companies end up spending vast amounts of money in return - for local staff, hotels, catering, etc. Thus, by dint of the Film Fund, the German government not only gives the economy a boost, but, more importantly, the German film industry as a whole. Thus, the film industry has turned into one of Berlin's most important industries, employing around 13.000 people in over 2.000 companies.

France is now beginning to realise what it missed out on, and came up with its own, similar, government backed subsidy policy. Previously, only French films were eligible to state subsidies. From now on, however, echoeing its eastern neighbour, and with its eye on the dollar, of course, France grants attractve tax breaks to every foreign film which is shot - or partly shot - on location in Paris or the Ile de France.