Courtesy : Netflix Jobs
Netflix continued with its European expansion as it has now entered the Paris region opening a new office and announcing a staggering 20 new shows.
According to Variety, the office was staffed with 40 employees, the launch attracted French industry figures, including producers and filmmakers working with or looking to work with Netflix.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who was on hand at the event, said the service will be stepping up its investment locally and will target high-profile talent in 2020. New titles include the film “Big Bug,” directed by “Amelie” director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Penned by Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, “Big Bug” is a comedy set in the future starring Elsa Zylberstein, Isabelle Nanty and Manu Payet.
Jeunet participated in the first roundtable organized for the event, along with the directors Julien Leclercq and Leïla Sy, as well as rapper-turned-actor Kery James, and Sara May, director of licensing and co-productions for France and Italy at Netflix. Jeunet said Netflix had rescued “Big Bug” after major film studios in France passed on it because they “believed a science fiction comedy with robots had too little commercial prospects.”
Jeunet said the collaboration with Netflix started several months ago when he was approached by David Kosse, VP of international film at Netflix, who told him that the company was looking to make a collection of European films in local languages. Jeunet sent him the script of “Big Bug” and got a ‘yes’ from Kosse a day later.
“Such fast decision-making doesn’t ever happen anymore in France; we’re going through a difficult period where the only two kinds of films that get easily financed are smaller French films with social themes or comedies,” said Jeunet.
A rep for Netflix said, “Big Bug” was being produced by Richard Grandpierre at Eskwad, in partnership with the streamer which will retain global rights. The executive said Netflix is not planning on pursuing the level of in-house production it has carried out in Spain, where the company launched a production hub earlier this year.
Netflix is also working with “Call My Agent!” creator Fanny Herrero on a six-part series following the lives of four young comedians trying to make it in the Paris stand-up scene.
Following the action-packed film “O?f Earth and Blood?,” the streaming service will also re-team with Julien Leclercq on another actioner, “Sentinelle,” which will star Olga Kurylenko. It has also signed up for the second season of Frederic Garcia’s science fiction series “Mortel.”
The streaming company will also continue working with film school La Femis to support an 11-month full-time training course. Netflix started working last year with the Gobelins animation school and will continue to do so by funding four-year scholarships for five students.