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Filming in the Côte d'Azur: what to watch

ART & CULTURE

Elsi Sloan in “A Girl’s Room” by Adastra Films

Currently, Paris is the number one city for filming locations in France but when deciphering between interior and exterior shots, the Côte d'Azur takes first place for exterior filming locations. Is there any wonder why?

On 30 September, the Film Commission of the Côte d'Azur held a press conference on the current status of the region’s cinematographic and audiovisual activities for 2019 and 2020. The figures are promising and it has certainly helped fill-in the revenue gap from the current health crisis.

Although the French Riviera has long been a favourite destination for films, especially for Alfred Hitchcock, the biggest recent gain for international attention has been the Sky series, “Riviera” filmed in association with Penninsula Films, based in Nice. However, there are more and more series and feature films that are coming to the region not only for the cinematographic beauty but also for the numerous incentives and growing offer of production facilities.

In 2019, the Alpes-Maritimes produced 377 projects with 1,200 days of filming for 9 full-length films (6 of which are French) and six television series (4 of which are French). These projects created 6,273 local jobs and brought over €45 million to the local economy, directly and an estimated €105.5 million indirectly.

A GIRL’S ROOM

The latest production in the region is by Cannes-based production company, ADASTRA FILMS. Since August 28th, they have been shooting its 4th feature film, "A Girl's Room" by Finnish director Aino Suni. This drama, tinged with psychological thriller, is co-produced with the German company OMA INGE FILM Benni Silver Bear 2019 in Berlin) and the Finnish company MADE.

Following the success of the Stalk web series on France Télévisions, Carmen Kassovitz is making her film debut as Sofia, a young ballerina facing her new sister-in-law, Elina, played by the Finnish actress Elsi Sloan. The singer Camille, Adel Bencherif, as well as the rapper Chilla and the prima ballerina Juliette Gernez have joined the cast, creating a crossroads of cinema, music and dance. Jean Benoit Dunckel ("Virgin Suicides Summer 85") will compose the soundtrack of the film.

"A Girl's Room" was financed thanks to the support of the Région Sud, the Alpes-Maritimes Department, as well as foreign partners such as the Finnish Film Foundation, the Finnish TV channel YLE and the Hamburg region.

This film has already won the Eurimages prize for the best European project and was presented at the Venice Film Festival in early September.

Elina, a young budding rapper of 17 years, is forced to leave her country Finland when her mother decides to join her boyfriend on the Côte d'Azur. Elina is immediately fascinated by her new sister-in-law, 18-year-old, Sofia, a very charismatic ballerina who leads a double life of parties, boys and drugs But this friendship quickly turns into a game of power with toxic consequences.

Filming in 2020

Seven long-form fiction projects have been green-lighted this year, including:

  • "Grand Hotel" by Yann Samuell (episodes 1-4) and Jérémy Minui (episodes 5-8) for TF1, produced by Drama Corp
  • "Crimes Parfaits" - 2 episodes for France 2 by GMT
  • "Il etait une fois Monaco" - 2 episodes for TF1 by Frederic Forestier
  • "L'Envol" - by Frederic Cerulli produced by Les Films à Fleur de Peau
  • "Disparu à Jamais" - a Netflix series by Juan Carlos Medina based on the work by Harlan Coben, produced by Calt Studio
  • "Cannes Confidential" - A joint project with Drama Corp and the City of Cannes, it's a new com/dram series around two police detectives that will take place in Cannes. Filming is set to begin this year.
  • "Section de Recherches" - the series will be filming their 15th season her for TF1.

What can we watch now?

Rebecca on Netflix

Partly filmed in Nice and Monaco, "Rebecca" has just been released on Netflix and is a remake of an old classic. Considered one of Hitchcock’s best films, the original "Rebecca" (1940), starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine was a romantic psychological thriller about a newlywed woman slowly discovering the disturbing death of her new husband’s previous wife. The film is based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.

The black and white classic has been redone with a more modern understanding, while still taking place in the novel’s 1938 setting. Produced by Working Title Films and directed by Ben Wheatley, it stars Lily James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas. Filmed partly in Nice and Monaco last summer, “Rebecca” was released 21 October on Netflix.

To mark the release of the film, Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice, posted some pics of the film crew in the Cimiez district while they were shooting at the Regina Hotel. You can view the images @cestrosi on Instagram.