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Movie theater. Is Marseille becoming the new El Dorado for filming in France?

Marseille is the city with the most shooting days in France after Paris. (©Betty Pawlowski)

Stillwater, Bac Nord, Shéhérazade, More beautiful lifesoon Transatlantic, wonder man and Vision. Behind Paris, Marseille has become the second destination in France for filming.

It must be said that with its creeks, its architecture, 26 centuries of history and 170 days of sunshine per year, the city has everything to seduce. A look back at the state of the audiovisual sector, which makes the Marseille city shine in France and around the world.

Marseille attracts, not its workforce

Marcel Pagnol, Jean-Luc Godard or Bertrand Blier, many of the big names in cinema have filmed in Marseille. Today, just over three hours by TGV from Paris, the capital of the South is consolidating its appeal.

Some figures on cinema in Marseille in 2021

– 441 shoots
– 1,260 days of filming including 97 days of international filming
– 15 feature films
– 12 TV dramas
– 38 advertisements
– €83 million in economic benefits

The city benefits from relatively good infrastructure, according to Jean-Marc Coppola, assistant to the culture of Marseille. “There are a lot of shoots, but there could be more,” he says. “We still need to develop the sector, in particular through authors’ houses and more schools. »

A director of actors from Paris, working on the series More beautiful life for 8 years, notes the ” contempt for Marseille actors and technicians. But, once you’ve descended, you realize that it’s unfounded. »

He remembers a time when “there were very few actors in Marseille” and notes that today, ” more and more actors are coming to settle in the Southbecause they have understood that it is pleasant to work here”.

However, he regrets that “Parisian productions continue to come with their entire team and do not take Marseillais on their sets”.

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Soon a CinéFabrique in Marseille?

Faced with this situation, the town hall wishes to improve the training offer in Marseille. “We will conclude an agreement that will allow cross-investment with the state and other local authorities » Ambitions Jean-Marc Coppola.

The chosen one would like provide Marseille with a CinéFabrique, a public cinema school, to date only present in Lyon. Even if the project is only at the stage of “political will”, it also speaks ofopen a branch of the French cinematheque.

“The French Cinematheque is one of the richest collections of film archives in the world. It could contain an exhibition and training room,” he imagines.

At the same time, associations already exist in Marseille. This is the case of “La Réplique”, an association that organizes internships, castings and competitions for young talents from underprivileged neighborhoods.

Internationally renowned events

In total, the city of Marseille welcomes more than twenty festivals bringing together nearly 110,000 spectators each year: Aspas, Cinétilt, Films Femmes Méditerranée, Cinehorizontes, RISC, La Première Fois, PRIMED… The city has no shortage of events .

Surely the best known of all, in July, Marseille hosts the International Documentary Festival (the FID). It is one of the cinematographic events of international reference.

Each year, the city’s cinemas and media libraries are called upon to screen the documentaries selected by the jury. Great international directors such as the Japanese Kyoshi Sugita, the Irishman Declan Clarke or the German Ted Fendt presented their previews there.

“The strength of Marseille is not only its major festivals”

Other places participate, unpretentiously, in bringing Marseille cinema to life. The star polygon, located in the Joliette district, brings the seventh art to life all year round.

“Marseille’s strength is not just its big ten-day festivals a year. There is a whole network of associations and small structures that work all year round, which never stops create.”

Martine DerainDirector of the Starry Polygon

We believe there should be space for all, which major festivals do not allow. This is why, with us, there is no selection. What we are looking for is, above all, creation,” explains Martine Derain. Because the Starry Polygon is “above all a place of creation for filmmakers who cannot find production”.

The place provides cameras, editing rooms, color grading (correction of colours), “all the chain necessary for the production of a film” for young talents. Results, the place is a veritable hotbed of local talent.

More beautiful life: “It will be a big loss for the city if we leave”

It has been several months since heated negotiations between production and France Télévisions have cast doubt: will the series end soon? So far, no response, but the staff are shaking.

“The more beautiful life is 40% of the city’s fiction shoots ” informs us a technician of the series. “It will be a big loss for the city if we leave. And for good reason, it’s no less than 600 people who work every year to the execution of the program.

“We will have to find another program. For the moment, as long as the production does not communicate, it is difficult to anticipate the culture assistant despairs.

Marseille without Plus belle la vie, it’s a lot of status of intermittent entertainment that fly away. That’s a lot of people who will no longer be able to enjoy a stable situation, allowing them to devote time to creating other content.

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