Industry Report: Market Trends
The CNC is to throw its weight behind studios and training
CANNES 2022: The "France 2030" call for projects is intended to foster the creation and modernisation of film studios and the development of training across the entire country
On the CNC beach at the Cannes Film Festival, the morning of Sunday 22 May was dedicated to operation "France 2030". The head of the CNC, Dominique Boutonnat, summed up the aim behind this call for projects, entitled "La grande fabrique de l’image" (lit. “The Great Image Factory”): €350 million in public subsidies will be leveraged by the CNC with France’s Deposits and Consignments Fund in order to raise €2 billion worth of investments in the areas of film studios, digital studios and training. Three territories in particular are being targeted: the Ile-de-France region, the Nord department and the Mediterranean arc.
Marc Vadé, head of Productions at Gaumont, reminded those present that for the last three years, demand for film and series shoots has been skyrocketing, with the workload having increased by 30%, on average. “We have never witnessed this before: previously, some shoots had to wait for the actors to be available, but today, we have to push back films for lack of technicians! We are sometimes forced to pay for the rental companies, the sets and crews in advance, without even knowing which project they will be working on." As mentioned by Caroline Champetier, a famous DoP who worked with Leos Carax on Holy Motors [+see also:
interview: Leos Carax
film profile] and Annette [+see also:
film profile], as well as with other directors, "the New Wave drove us away from the studios. Today, France is seeing long delays in terms of their construction and their refurbishment. We have to put our heads together to think about new studios built by architects, backing onto schools and integrated into the city. Like Cinecittà, for example: a studio has to have a global outlook."
The next film by director Christian Carion, Bonne Course, will depict a very long taxi ride with Dany Boon as the driver and Line Renaud as the passenger, all across Paris. "This film would have been impossible to shoot with a car tracking shot in the capital, a city where it’s getting more and more difficult to film." Five weeks out of the six-week shoot therefore took place in a 1,000 m2 space in the Montjoie Studios in La Plaine Saint-Denis. There, the team installed a set of LED screens on which images of Paris were projected, extending 180 degrees around the taxi. "Projecting onto LED screens is a lot more interesting for the director, but also for the actors, than filming against a green screen. The effect was stunningly realistic," averred Carion.
After this example of the use of new shooting technologies, production designer Valérie Valero mentioned the importance of old-school know-how. She is one of the instigators of the mass movement that prevented the sale of the Bry sur Marne Studios to property developers some ten years ago. "I worked there during the SFP years, and those studios have been extremely well thought out because set designers, painters and grips were involved in designing them. Our expertise is important. Bry has to be saved before new studios are created." For two years, Valérie Valero has also been actively involved in the environmental aspects of shoots. In the 1990s, sets were built and then disposed of. "At the SFP, there was a system of ‘repertory sheets’, which we used to build the set and which were then reused afterwards. What we do today by using the Ressourcerie du cinéma (lit. “Film Resource Bank”) in Montreuil for our sets is really simple: they salvage the materials and then hire them out to professionals again." Sets account for 20% of a shoot’s carbon footprint. Marc Vadé told attendees that for Jean-François Richet’s The Emperor of Paris [+see also:
film profile], the streets of the Napoleonic-era capital were reconstructed in Brétigny, and the set was subsequently destroyed. "In Morocco, the sets at the Atlas Studios have been used 1,000 times,” he explained. For the studios of the future, we really ought to think about the backlot: why not build a whole Parisian neighbourhood, avoid the set being thrown in the skip, and make it reconfigurable in accordance with the stories we’re telling. And to do that, we have to bring back professions that no longer exist, like builders, staff makers and so on."
Training is therefore the second important pillar of the France 2030 call for projects. It will obviously not only be about training technicians and production designers, but also relying on the strongest sectors of the French industry: animation, new visual technologies, writing and the direction of series. The political commitment is to double the number of youngsters graduating annually in the sector to bring it up to 10,000 people per year.
(Translated from French)
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