Filming on location in the Loire Valley with Film Commissioner Fanny Barrot
Fanny joined the Loire Valley Film Commission in central France as a student and assistant, and her interest in architecture and landscape photography carried her to the role of commissioner. She’s now been with the organisation for five years.
The Loire Valley is well known for its cultural heritage. The river Loire is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Moreover, the territory is internationally known for its historical towns such as Blois, Tours and Chinon, and of course for its exceptional castles like Chambord and Chenonceau. The commission lists more than 1,500 locations which could open their doors to filming. They range from typical houses called ‘longère’ to castles or brownfield sites.
The region does not have a lot of equipment, studios or post facilities, but the Loire Valley is very close to Paris which has most of this kind of infrastructure. However, the Loire has more than 340 technicians and about 200 actors.
What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews when they come and film in the area?
Historical locations are popular. We have old towns with churches, paved streets and palaces, manors and castle dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. We have forests, lowlands, vineyards, rivers and shores, as well as towns that can double for any big town in Europe. Productions often use Tours and Orleans as ‘undefined’ locations.
What are the more unusual locations that our readers would not necessarily associate with the region?
In my opinion, the Loire Valley is an area where productions can shoot almost everything except for mountains or the sea. If we have a lot of historical locations, the region also has some modern places like Orleans’ train station and Tours’ downtown area, and soon its tramway stations designed by the artist Buren.
What has been your most difficult location assignment to date and why?
One of the most difficult location assignments was certainly to find a place to cheat an airport entrance. The production was shooting in Tours, which only has a little airport without a big hall, and we wanted to shoot a kind of international entrance. The solution was finally to shoot, from the street, the entrance of the congress house which is one of the biggest and most contemporary buildings in the town with a large modern hall.
What types of production do you work on most?
Each year we work on around ten shorts and three or four features. We’re also starting to get more TV shows and TV movies. For the moment we essentially help French fiction productions but we will welcome more foreign productions.
What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels in your region and where is your favourite wrap party venue?
There are many hotels all around the region, mostly located in towns. Productions could find different ranges of hotels with a large scale of facilities. Wrap party venues could be found in historical places. It is always surreal to party in a place that has centuries of partying tradition, or perhaps from where leaders have lived, as in several Loire Valley Castles!
What do you do with your time off and what would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax in your region?
I really like to ride my bike on the docks of the Loire. The light is so beautiful in the morning or when the sun sets. To have fun, I could invite people to go to one of our numerous festivals like Printemps de Bourges (music), Darc festival in Châteauroux (dance), Garden Festival de Chaumont-sur-Loire (contemporary art) and of course Vendôme Film Festival (cinema!).
To contact Fanny please click here.
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