For a relatively small country, France offers a great diversity of film locations ranging from chic modern architecture to medieval villages, iconic museums to picturesque countryside, snow-capped mountains to surf beaches.
France has hosted many Hollywood productions including Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Wonder Woman, Saving Private Ryan, Midnight in Paris, Da Vinci Code, and The Bourne Identity, to name a few.
Paris and Marseilles are the main production centres but some crews and equipment can also be found in Aquitaine, Rhone Alpes, Nord Pas de Calais and other provinces.
Cost & Rebates
France is a relatively expensive place to shoot. This is due mainly to the high costs of crew. France trades in the Euro. Any locations requiring travel outside of Paris or Marseille are an additional cost to filming.
At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials filming in France. Tax incentives exist for TV dramas / series, animations and feature films. The Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP), for films and high-end TV series is 30% on qualifying expenses.
When To Shoot
The climate of France can be divided into three climatic zones – Oceanic, Continental and Mediterranean. Paris and Western France have an oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters. Central and Eastern France have a temperate continental climate. Southern France – Riviera, Provence and Roussillon have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. June to September is the high season. The Alps have snowy winters.
France is a member of the Schengen Area. There are no specific work permits required for visiting crews. Crews travelling on US passports can enter and film visa-free for stays of up to 90 days.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
France has a very good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. France has a great depth of experienced, English speaking key and supporting crew. Crews are non-union for feature films and commercials. Talent is union for feature films although the unions are not as strong as they once were. Talent is non-union for commercials and buyouts are negotiable. The buyout amount depends on the brand – buyouts are often less for smaller brands and more for larger brands. France has a very good and extensive pool of multicultural and multilingual talent. Both Arri and Panavision camera, grip and lighting equipment available as well as a host of specialty suppliers you might expect to find in any developed production centre including Motion Control, Wescam, all the cranes, all the heads, all the toys for car commercials, heli-mounts, underwater filming, etc. For productions looking to bring in film equipment France is an ATA carnet country.