I may have focused heavily on classic movies in this blog, but the Côte d’Azur is still a popular location for filmmakers around the world, a land of inspiration for movie directors, writers, artists and musicians.
I approached the French Riviera Film Commission to find out some of the recent films and TV series shot in the area. The Commission provides many reasons and incentives to shoot in the region. In the past 13 years alone, 133 feature length films, 201 TV series episodes and an incredible 2070 commercials have been shot on the Côte d’Azur.
Woody Allen’s Summer Project
Codenamed WASP (Woody Allen Summer Project) 2013, Woody Allen’s latest film stars Colin Firth and Emma Stone and is rumoured to be set in 1920’s France.
The film was shot around Antibes, Cap d’Antibes, Eden Roc Hotel and Villa Eilenroc. Menton Casino Barriere in Menton, Villa Maria Séréna near Menton, Serre de la Madone, also near Menton, were used in the filming, along with Nice, Grasse and Vence.
Grace of Monaco by Olivier Dahan
Olivier Dahan, director of La Vie en Rose, recently worked with Nicole Kidman on a film dedicated to Grace of Monaco, due to be released in 2014.
According to the press notes for the film, when France’s Charles De Gaulle issues an ultimatum to Prince Rainier to change Monaco’s tax laws, Hollywood actress-turned Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, works behind the scenes to save the city-state from a coup.
Cannes and Antibes hosted the famous Australian actress, and I visited some of the locations in Menton not long after shooting had finished. The main location was Parvis St Michel, a small town square in the centre of Menton which doubles as a Monaco marketplace for the film. I entered from the Quai Bonaparte, climbing a number of steps to reach the square.
I also shot a short video of my Menton trip:
One of Grace Kelly’s best known roles was in the Alfred Hitchcock film, To Catch a Thief, more of which can be discovered on this dedicated page.
Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants
Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo’s Minuscule:Valley of the Lost Ants follows the day-to-day existence of anthropomorphic insects. The characters are modelled on computer in 3D and are then set against real scenery, namely the Côte d’Azur’s Mercantour National Park.
Created in 1979, the Mercantour National Park was the last of the seven French national parks. This protected land measuring 68,500 hectares extends over more than 120km from the Col de Tende to the Ubaye. It fulfils two essential roles, protecting the natural environment and welcoming and informing visitors looking for nature tourism
The TF1 hit series Research Section (Section de Recherches) was filmed in South West France for the fist seven seasons. From season 8 it moved to the French Riviera.
Watched by 6 million viewers every week, the series follows Captain Bernier (Xavier Deluc) and his squad who investigate in the “Alpes Maritimes” area. Two episodes have already been filmed in the new location of Grasse.
A building was made available for the production company and was transformed into studios, a laboratory and Gendarmerie for the “Section of Researches”. The series will also be shot in Gourdon and St Jeannet.
Watch my video tour of Grasse:
Television Heroes festival
For the last two years the French Riviera Film Commission has organised the « Les Héros de la télé » Festival, dedicated to actors, comedians and directors of various French television series. Taking place in the city of Beausoleil, the second festival takes place from 4 – 6 October 2013.
For the next post I’ll look more closely at the work of the the French Riviera Film Commission.