French tax breaks boost jobs for country’s VFX shops

The development of France’s VFX industry cannot be overstated, as a comprehensive 10% bonus is implemented for international productions spending more than $2.1 million with local companies (and the full 40% tax break can only be derived from digital spending) by overwhelming the post-production ecosystem, paying first financial and then human capital.

On paper, the equation is self-evident: where investment goes, talent quickly follows. In practice, this cause and effect has led to widespread repatriation, as talented graduates of the country’s best training programs return from overseas for the opportunity to work in programs at home.

Studios like Paris- and Montpellier-based The Yard have reaped the benefits of this reverse brain drain, with recent projects like “Halo,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” in international pipelines and modes. A workforce asset that further facilitates partnerships with large commissions – to maximize well-informed workforces.

„Our whole working model is similar to studios in Canada, the US and the UK,” says Yard founder and senior VFX supervisor Lawrence Ehrman. „As a marketer, it’s important to reflect those patterns and work in the same systems. It makes integration easier,” the bottom line.

To that end, Yard has made recent hires, bringing in project managers from studios like Framestore and DNEG, who recently oversaw titles like „Rebel Moon” and „Dune.” Such a legacy reflects Ehrman’s own vision for a company that can compete on an expanded scale.

„We want to continue working on bigger projects and do it with the same passion,” Ehrman says. „Sure, we’re not ILM, we don’t have 3,000 employees, and we’ll never be able to do 'Doon.’ But if we can do 200 or 300 shots on this or that show, we’re happy to do it. That’s what drives us.

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As workloads increase — studios like Yard are now seeing deals in France that exceed the minimum $2.1 million spent on projects that don’t shoot a single frame — the local industry is also maturing.

Big projects like AMC’s „The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” — which shot 100% of its VFX work locally — have created a new breed of independent VFX supervisors who can coordinate and manage heavy workloads across multiple local outfits. , all while acting as a single point for foreign producers.

„We act as middlemen, find the right studios, make the right deals and go with the project from start to finish,” says independent VFX producer and supervisor Justine Paynat-Sautivet. „It’s becoming more important because we’re building a bridge that connects international topics into a very well-functioning ecosystem.”

When AMC saw Excuse My French as a one-stop shop facilitator for Season 1 of the zombie spinoff, it tapped six studios and a hand-picked independent team for the follow-up, now in post-production. Pinot-Chaudivet has arrived at both.

“Both models represent two ways to adapt to our customers and their needs,” he says. „We can offer an all-inclusive package where the studio doesn’t have to worry about anything, or it’s supervised by freelancers who are always on call and can integrate into the wider team in some way. If they’re not on the same continent. I think both are very positive because both offer customer service that’s really on-demand.”

Indeed, Paynat-Sautivet is proud that AMC’s experience with Season 1 led the broadcaster to strengthen ties with the VFX department.

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„A lot of other countries have financial incentives,” he says. „But we’re coming back—
Beat customers because we’ve built relationships of trust. When a customer returns
Turns out, they’re not just looking for a tax break — they’re looking for French expertise.

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