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French film fest offers gateway to China market

By Li Xiang (China Daily)

10:31, May 24, 2013

The ongoing Cannes Film Festival is not just about filmmakers promoting their new works and the flash of paparazzi chasing after movie stars.

Film France, the French national film commission that promotes film co-production with foreign countries, is using the event as a platform to attract international producers and filmmakers, especially those from China, to shoot and make movies in the country.
The commission is keen on promoting co-productions between France and China as it sees the huge potential in China's film industry, which is based on a market that is expected to surpass the United States' by 2020 in box office.

China's fascinating growth story and its multi-faceted society have inspired French filmmakers, who have started to put China and Chinese elements in their screenplays, says Franck Priot, the chief operating officer of Film France.

"Anything that has to do with China carries an aura of excitement," he says.

France is the first foreign country that co-produced films with China. The first Sino-French film, The Kite, was directed by Chinese director Wang Jiayi and his French colleague Roger Pigaut and was screened in 1958.

But the cooperation did not really blossom until 2010, when governments of both countries signed a strategic agreement.

In order to attract more foreign producers and filmmakers with more incentives to come to the country, the French government decided in 2009 to offer a 20-percent tax rebate for foreign film and TV productions in the country, according to Priot.

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