May 25 2009

Creating a film in Luxembourg

Published by at 12:20 under Industry

source: http://www.paperjam.lu  – Duncan Roberts

SOME 20 YEARS AFTER THE CREATION OF FILM FUND LUXEMBOURG, THE FILM INDUSTRY IS NOW WELL ESTABLISHED IN THE GRAND DUCHY AND ATTRACTING INCREASING INTEREST. A CONFERENCE HOSTED BY PMI LUXEMBOURG LOOKED AT THE CHALLENGES FACED IN CREATING A FILM.

“Making a film is a very long and high-risk process,” says Nicolas Steil, President and CEO of Iris Productions. Steil was concluding a case study presentation on the production process for Iris’ latest film, Réfractaire, which he is taking to the Marché du Film in Cannes – the market that runs alongside the official festival. Managing Director of Film Fund Luxembourg, Guy Daleiden, the other guest speaker at the PMI Luxembourg (Project Management Institute) event, explains that Luxembourg’s presence at this year’s Cannes film festival, is further evidence that the industry now has a solid international reputation. The Film Fund itself will have a pavilion in the market village for the seventh consecutive year. Two films have been selected in the official programme, and a slew of others are going to the market which runs in parallel to the festival.“The fact that stars such as Melanie Griffith, Catherine Deneuve and Monica Bellucci come to Luxembourg confirms that we make films of an international standard,” says Daleiden. He explains that the industry has come a long way since the 1988 law establishing a temporary fiscal scheme specific to audio-visual investment certificates and the creation, in April 1990, of the Fonds national de soutien à la production audiovisuelle – now simply called Film Fund Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy now has some 36 production companies, of which 20 produce films on a regular basis. A further 12 companies are specialised in post-production, sound studios and special effects and some 20 service companies that supply audiovisual material are directly involved in the industry. In addition, there are three animation studios and a production studio in the Weiergewann industrial zone in Contern has four sound stages.

Encouraging young film-makers

“Between 450 and 500 people earn their living from the audio-visual industry in Luxembourg,” says Daleiden. “And that number is due to increase as more and more young people attend film schools abroad.” The Film Fund is keen to encourage the next wave of Luxembourg film-makers, and is taking three promising young directors to Cannes to meet the industry this year. Here in Luxembourg, the Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers has been running a BTS (brevet de technicien supérieur) in animation, and the EAVE training institute for European film producers – with courses in Luxembourg and other European cities – is recognised as one of the best in Europe. With audiovisual coproduction agreements between Luxembourg, Quebec and Canada, France, Germany and Austria in place, and similar agreements with Ireland and Switzerland at the negotiation stage, Luxembourg’s film industry is clearly being taken seriously all over Europe.

Which is all very positive news, but, as Nicolas Steil points out, even with the support of the tax shelter and Film Fund subsidies, it is still not easy to get a film made. Only one in five projects will ever see the light of day, he explains, and each project can take between three and five years from initial idea to finally hitting the silver screen. Indeed, Réfractaire took a total of seven years. The producer’s job, says Steil, involves a variety of skills. They must be: a story-teller who has to pitch an idea and make sure it will grab an audience’s attention; a financial wizard who can raise money with co-production partners and balance a budget; an organiser and team leader who must ensure all creative departments can work together without a clash of egos interfering with the project at hand; and finally a marketer who can sell the film to distributors in home and foreign markets, TV stations and international sales agents.

“But one thing a producer should never think is that he knows everything. The producer who claims to be the sole one to know which project will make the most money will surely go bankrupt pretty fast. Because if he thinks that, he will invest too much money in a single project.” And that can be fatal, especially if only one in five projects even makes it into the cinemas. But those that do get made can be used to build a catalogue that can be sold on even five or six years after the film is completed – Steil has just sold a bundle of six films to P&T Luxembourg’s video-on-demand service. “When you have made 20, 30 or 40 movies, you have a portfolio for which you own the rights, and this is something against which you can borrow money to finance future projects,” Steil explains.

Comments

comments

source: http://www.paperjam.lu  – Duncan Roberts

SOME 20 YEARS AFTER THE CREATION OF FILM FUND LUXEMBOURG, THE FILM INDUSTRY IS NOW WELL ESTABLISHED IN THE GRAND DUCHY AND ATTRACTING INCREASING INTEREST. A CONFERENCE HOSTED BY PMI LUXEMBOURG LOOKED AT THE CHALLENGES FACED IN CREATING A FILM.

“Making a film is a very long and high-risk process,” says Nicolas Steil, President and CEO of Iris Productions. Steil was concluding a case study presentation on the production process for Iris’ latest film, Réfractaire, which he is taking to the Marché du Film in Cannes – the market that runs alongside the official festival. Managing Director of Film Fund Luxembourg, Guy Daleiden, the other guest speaker at the PMI Luxembourg (Project Management Institute) event, explains that Luxembourg’s presence at this year’s Cannes film festival, is further evidence that the industry now has a solid international reputation. The Film Fund itself will have a pavilion in the market village for the seventh consecutive year. Two films have been selected in the official programme, and a slew of others are going to the market which runs in parallel to the festival.“The fact that stars such as Melanie Griffith, Catherine Deneuve and Monica Bellucci come to Luxembourg confirms that we make films of an international standard,” says Daleiden. He explains that the industry has come a long way since the 1988 law establishing a temporary fiscal scheme specific to audio-visual investment certificates and the creation, in April 1990, of the Fonds national de soutien à la production audiovisuelle – now simply called Film Fund Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy now has some 36 production companies, of which 20 produce films on a regular basis. A further 12 companies are specialised in post-production, sound studios and special effects and some 20 service companies that supply audiovisual material are directly involved in the industry. In addition, there are three animation studios and a production studio in the Weiergewann industrial zone in Contern has four sound stages.

Encouraging young film-makers

“Between 450 and 500 people earn their living from the audio-visual industry in Luxembourg,” says Daleiden. “And that number is due to increase as more and more young people attend film schools abroad.” The Film Fund is keen to encourage the next wave of Luxembourg film-makers, and is taking three promising young directors to Cannes to meet the industry this year. Here in Luxembourg, the Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers has been running a BTS (brevet de technicien supérieur) in animation, and the EAVE training institute for European film producers – with courses in Luxembourg and other European cities – is recognised as one of the best in Europe. With audiovisual coproduction agreements between Luxembourg, Quebec and Canada, France, Germany and Austria in place, and similar agreements with Ireland and Switzerland at the negotiation stage, Luxembourg’s film industry is clearly being taken seriously all over Europe.

Which is all very positive news, but, as Nicolas Steil points out, even with the support of the tax shelter and Film Fund subsidies, it is still not easy to get a film made. Only one in five projects will ever see the light of day, he explains, and each project can take between three and five years from initial idea to finally hitting the silver screen. Indeed, Réfractaire took a total of seven years. The producer’s job, says Steil, involves a variety of skills. They must be: a story-teller who has to pitch an idea and make sure it will grab an audience’s attention; a financial wizard who can raise money with co-production partners and balance a budget; an organiser and team leader who must ensure all creative departments can work together without a clash of egos interfering with the project at hand; and finally a marketer who can sell the film to distributors in home and foreign markets, TV stations and international sales agents.

“But one thing a producer should never think is that he knows everything. The producer who claims to be the sole one to know which project will make the most money will surely go bankrupt pretty fast. Because if he thinks that, he will invest too much money in a single project.” And that can be fatal, especially if only one in five projects even makes it into the cinemas. But those that do get made can be used to build a catalogue that can be sold on even five or six years after the film is completed – Steil has just sold a bundle of six films to P&T Luxembourg’s video-on-demand service. “When you have made 20, 30 or 40 movies, you have a portfolio for which you own the rights, and this is something against which you can borrow money to finance future projects,” Steil explains.

Comments

comments

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply