In Saint Denis, just eight miles north of the centre of Paris, French cinema is changing forever. Celebrated director and producer Luc Besson today cut the ribbon to open €170M studio complex Film City. The first facility in the country able to see a film all the way through from conception to release, Film City looks set to revolutionise the country's alrady successful film industry.
Following in the footsteps of similar projects in the US, India and Spain, Film City aims to provide on-site capability at every stage of the filmmaking process, creating a substantial number of jobs in the area. Its construction in and around a former power station gives it a futuristic look in keeping with many of Besson's own films. The producer, who has previously spoken of his sadness at having to leave France to shoot blockbuster films, hopes it will boost the industry's potential. Despite the 12 years of development that the project has taken and the difficult economic climate in which it is opening, he is confident that it can meet its running costs, which will only require it to attract two major productions per year.
Tomorrow, Besson plans to open the studio doors to members of the public so that they can go in and discover for themselves what it's all about. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in this dream," he said at the launch.