From time to time, one can come across famous faces in Luxembourg, if not their chairs with their names on it, such as ‘Hugh’ and ‘Melanie’. If one hangs around long enough, people who look like Grant and Griffiths can be seen running across the street. Over and over again, for take after take. A wide range of actors such as Colin Firth, Demi Moore, Billy Boyd, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy, and Maggie Gyllenhal have starred in Luxembourg co-productions.
The Luxembourg film industry has grown quite a bit since it first started about twenty two years ago.
The Third Edition of the Discovery Zone Film Festival in Luxembourg is underway until the 8th of March. On the 2nd of March, many pros, and would be pros, attended the Meet the Pros event, which included talks by local producers, directors, technicians, and even a film music composer, Pierre Funck.
Most probably some of them got their start in the film industry with the help of the Luxembourg Film Fund. It is paying off, as the hand-drawn animated feature film “Ernest and Celestine”, coproduced by Stephan Roelants (Melusine Productions) won the Cesar for the best animated film. On display, at the Meet the Pros event, there were also interesting small-scale models, etchings, drawings, and posters of animation features produced locally.
Guy Daleiden, head of the Luxembourg Film Fund was networking with the participants at Meet the Pros event. He said one of their main goals was to attract professionals, and to develop the film industry in Luxembourg. About 650-700 people make a living off its fledgling film industry.
With about €40 million at its disposal, the Luxembourg Film Fund can invest in co-productions with a Luxembourg-based company. Up to 30% of the budget, with a maximum of €2 million can be procured by a co-production from the Luxembourg Film Fund. However, it is only possible if the project meets with certain criteria. The Luxembourg Film Fund has a reading committee, which selects the scripts, and the financial committee investigates the quality of the film, and viability of the budget, before the final decision is made.
One of the goals of the Luxembourg Film Fund is to develop the film industry amongst the youth of the country and to foster future talent. It also aims to promote the fledgling industry in international circles. To this end, the Luxembourg Film Fund is present at many film festivals, including the ones in Venice and Berlin. It even has a stand at the Cannes Film Festival, which is the nearest access that Luxembourg has to the sea. They arrange lots of special screenings.
They have developed a production partnership with companies in Belgium, France and Germany. Austria is their biggest coproduction partner, with an exchange in terms of film directors and actors. Collaborating with smaller countries is more interesting. They have treaties with various countries, all of which have to be ratified by the parliament. They’ve signed a treaty with Ireland, as a result of which Luxembourg films will be shown at the Galway Film Festival. This year, they have invited Mr Park from South Korea to be a member of the jury at the Luxembourg Discovery Zone Festival.
Guy Daleiden has had many interesting experiences in various places, including Calcutta, Beijing, and South Korea in the course of his job.