Filming in Luxembourg with location scout Christian Pannrucker
Christian got his first taste of the film industry as an apprentice on a German TV channel in 2000. Additional TV and film experiences led him to study unit and location management at Cologne’s Koelner Filmhaus. He’s been a location manager and scout in Luxembourg for the past five years.
What can you tell me about the region you cover?
My scouting territory encompasses nearly 2,600 square kilometres, which is the whole of Luxembourg. In the northern part of the country, Oesling, you find the greater Ardennes area. Here you have hills, forests and river valleys, including the scenic Sauer Valley. In the south lies the fertile plain of Gutland, where most of Luxembourg’s population is based. Considering the country’s small size, the country offers more breathtaking castles, more cosy forests and more modern architecture than any other European country, and everything is close by.
Because the Luxembourgish Filmfund has an agreement with the Greater Region of Luxembourg, I extended my scouting area. The Greater Region of Luxembourg comprises the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Wallonia (B), Saarland (D), Lorraine (F), Rhineland-Palatinate (D) and the German-speaking community of Belgium.
Luxembourg’s film industry has crew in all parts of the country and the vast majority of Luxembourgers grow up learning French, German and English, as well as Luxembourgish. As a Luxembourger myself, this makes communication with working partners easy.
For international producers the country offers not only financial support but also a variety of interesting film locations.
Today, the Luxembourgish crew base is about 600-strong. We are a film-friendly nation with modern film studios such as the Filmland und Studio Luxembourg, as well as post facilities and distribution companies.
What locations are most commonly used by film crews? What are the more unusual locations that our readers would not necessarily associate with the region?
Luxembourg’s locations are popular for their diversity. You can find yourself in a Paris boulevard, in a suburb of Brussels or in the historic alleyways of the 16th Century. Foreign producers are often astonished about the manifoldness of outdoor locations here.
For international producers the country offers not only financial support but also a variety of interesting film locations and infrastructure. For me it is important to spotlight the diversity and the enormous amount of locations Luxembourg offers.
What subsidies are on offer from the Grand Duchy offer international producers and which countries does Luxembourg have co-production partnerships with?
In 1990 after the big success of the Luxembourgish film Schako Klack by Samsa Film, the government established the Film Fund Luxembourg to support the local cinematic scene. The Filmfund (Restructuration du Fonds national de soutien à la production audiovisuelle, or FONSPA) receives a yearly budget of EUR30 million to support screenplays and project development, as well as productions in the country. Therefore different criteria will be taken into consideration such as the quality of the script, financial feasibility and the economic, social and cultural value. Luxembourg has signed the European Co-Production Convention and has co-production partnerships with countries such as France, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and Canada.
What has been your most difficult location assignment to date and why?
The most difficult location assignment in my career was a scene in the 2011 French film Sleepless Night, by Frederic Jardin. I was responsible both for the location scouting and the location management. One particular scene involved a Maserati sports car driving at speed down a busy Parisian street. We needed local street closures but it took weeks of local government negotiations to close a dozen side streets on two separate Sundays, affecting bus and rail timetables.
None of the stress of the organisation came through during the screening – it was seamless. I had to smile at that moment, because I was happy at the achievement of our crew.
What types of production do you work on most?
Mostly I work on feature films for cinema release, although there are also sitcoms for the local TV channel RTL Letzebuerg, as well as documentaries and commercials which are produced in the country.
Productions in recent years include Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino, Diamant 13, Schatzritter and Au Bonheur des Ogres.
Which is the best airport to use to film in Luxembourg?
Our international airport is called Luxembourg Findel. The Luxembourgian airline Luxair and Cargolux cargo planes operate there on a daily basis. It is also possible to charter a light aircraft.
What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels?
The Alvisse Parc Hotel and the Double Tree by Hilton – both in the capital – are very popular places where many film crews stay. As a matter of fact different regions of Luxembourg are in close distances, mostly reachable within one or two hours. There is enough space to park fleets of technical trucks in the hotel-owned parking lots.
What would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax in Luxembourg?
I highly recommend visiting the old city of Luxembourg, which is as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palace of the Grand Duke, as well as numerous museums, display over a thousand years of the city’s history, while the city is also an important international financial centre. Several headquarters of major European companies are located there.
Luxemburg was built at a very interesting geographic place. Gorges and valleys divide the city into an Upper and Lower Town, with bridges connecting the different sections. The Place d'Armes is the main square in the Lower town and definitely worth a visit. I also recommend you visit the Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean and the casemates.
The south of the country is a well-known wine-growing area where you can try an excellent glass of Riesling, Pinot Noir or Rivaner. Personally I love to ride my wakeboard on the Mosel or stroll through Luxembourg’s Old City with its art galleries and cafes.
To contact Christian click here.
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