The leading French film director Luc Besson has realised his dream of building a world class film production complex in the north of Paris.
Now he is hoping to welcome big-budget productions to Cité du Cinéma, the largest film studio facility ever built in France, at a cost of 170-million euros.
The project’s backers want it to become a French Hollywood, where producers can shoot an entire film from beginning to end.
Management of the complex are proud of the facilities that they hope will help them compete with the biggest studios in the world.
The president of Studios de Paris, Didier Diaz said: “The new elements are the quality of materials, it’s the sound-proofing, the air-conditioning, it’s having all the possibilities. You can find these types of things pretty much everywhere, but here they’re all under one roof.”
Diaz also showed off a pool for underwater scenes: “Three metres deep,” he said, “it’s a sort of thing you can’t find in France.”
However, while the facilities can compare with Europe’s biggest film-making centres – France offers fewer tax breaks for international productions and that could reduce its appeal.
The French actors’ and directors’ guild knows that competition is going to be stiff.
The president of FICAM, Thierry de Segonzac said: “It’s really difficult these days to compete with European studios like Barrendov in Prague, or Berlin, or Budapest or Bucharest because studio costs and employment costs in certain countries are obviously much lower, and the tax-breaks of our European neighbours are much more attractive.”
There are nine soundstages in Cité du Cinéma with ultra-modern acoustics, paint-shops, and joineries as well as the Louis Lumière film school which trains movie professionals to the highest standard.
For the artists and technicians of the future it’s a godsend.
Student William Herrero told us: “You’ll come to school in the morning knowing that you’re right in the middle of filming – over there right now we know that Luc Besson is making ‘Mala Vita’ – but other productions will come very quickly. We’re at the very heart of cinema.”
With another school due to open, it is hoped that this colossal project will soon be proving its worth.