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Creatives speaking: Gilles Bannier on Paris

Paris-groupe-ABGilles Bannier was lined up to direct The Tunnel, the Canal+ and Sky remake of hit Scandinavian drama Bron (The Bridge), but he put that to one side after a call from the producer of Paris, a new drama series from Engrenages (Spiral) writer Virginie Brac.

“I heard it was written by Virginie, and her and I are a great team and love working together,” says Bannier. “So I had a real problem, I had to decide whether to do The Tunnel or Paris. I decided to do Paris as I couldn’t leave a project written by Virginie Brac.”

The pair worked together on Canal+ series Engrenages, and Paris is made by the same production company.

The six-part drama is set in the titular French capital. It tells the story of a seemingly unrelated group of twelve people living in different parts of the city.

As the highly serialised show unfolds, the viewers see how their lives and stories are actually closely intertwined.

The entire series spans one day in the life of the characters. Viewers will clearly need to pay attention as the plot advances.

“There are stories in each episode, but really it is one long story cut into six parts,” Bannier says. “If you miss one episode you won’t understand what is happening.”

The producers were keen to show the iconic parts of Paris as well as less well-known sections of the city.

“I was very pleased that we decided to locate the story in different places in Paris,” Bannier says. “I wanted the famous picture postcard places as well as other areas where no-one ever films or goes, to create the real Paris.”

Locations featured include the Sacré Coeur in Montmarte, Place de la Concorde and the offices of the prime minister. Bannier is hopeful of a second season, which would feature new characters or could also be formatted to work in a different city.

The producers: Son et Lumière with France Télévisions, CNC
The distributor: AB International Distribution
The broadcasters: Arte (France), France Télévisions