French director Luc Besson may not shoot his next film in France. Because of tax laws that impose penalties on English-language films, he may shoot his upcoming feature, Valérian, in Hungary instead. So reports an article (Luc Besson pourrait ne pas tourner son prochain film en France, August 25) in Le Monde (my translation):
"I do not know if I will be able to shoot in France. It's all about political arcana... I think that everyone would like it if we made the film here, if we had the right," the director stated to RTL on August 24. "I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I am working on my film, and I hope it will work itself out," he added.If he shoots the film in Hungary, that country will reimburse him for 35 to 40% of the total cost. "I am a patriot," he quipped, "but 15 to million euro is a bit much." The film is an adaptation of the science fiction graphic novel by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. Losing the production of the film is not insignificant by any means: with an estimated budget of 170 million euro, it would employ 1,200 people over a period of six months.
"I want to work in my own country with French technical crew. It puts me off, as one says. I warned the authorities," Besson confirmed, citing the name of François Hollande. "There is just one small problem with the tax credits in France: 20% for French films, and 30% for foreign films. This is a French film in English, so I get no credit for being a French film. At the same time I get no credit as a foreign film because the producer is French. It's a Catch-22 (Je suis dans une espèce de trou juridique)."