Damien Couvreur, in the cast of Netflix

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Posted on Jan. 16, 2020, 3:46 p.m.

The paintings are not finished, some rooms are not fully furnished, and the reception popcorn machine is not yet in service, but, with these details, at D-7, everything is ready for the inauguration with great fanfare, this Friday, of the Paris office of Netflix.

Three floors with a plunging view of the Edouard VII Theater, three comfortably furnished terraces from which we can see the Eiffel Tower, a corridor of meeting rooms named after the series that made the reputation of the platform (“The Crown “,” Mindhunter “,” Orange Is the New Black “,” Lucifer “…): less than four years after having moved its French structure to the Netherlands,
Netflix has big plans for its return.

No less than 20 French productions this year

In the presence of the big boss Reed Hastings, come from Los Angeles for the occasion, will be announced this afternoon a
considerable acceleration of original hexagonal productions: no less than 20, including a majority of series, will be released this year – compared to 24 produced since 2014.

   An increase in activity which comes at a time when the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, wants to force the platforms to invest at least 25% of their turnover made in France in French and European production.

The architect of this dynamic, Damien Couvreur, director of the original French series, is not 40 years old and has the coolness of tech – navy sweater, jeans and boots. He knows the little universe of creators well to come from it. After studying at Sciences Po and Essec – where he met some of the screenwriters with whom he would do business during his career – this Parisian went on to work in the only field which interested him: content production.

An email with “Hello from Netflix”

After seeing the short films he made on the sidelines of his lessons, Tonie Marshall (“Venus Beauty”, “Number One”) set foot in his production company, Tabo Tabo, then he evolves in large groups, from Europa to Gaumont. He sets up his own business, Diligence Films, to produce projects that inspire him, notably the thrilling thriller “Moka”, with Emmanuelle Devos and Nathalie Baye. Like those of his generation, this cinephile devours major series that have renewed the art of storytelling: “The West Wing”, “Six Feet Under”.

When he received an email starting with “Hello from Netflix” three years ago, he thought of a subscription problem. Not at all: it’s a job that Californians offer him. This “serious”, absolute fan of season 2 of “Mindhunter”, the confusing series of David Fincher on serial killers, will spend his first years in society, between the headquarters of Los Angeles and the European office in Amsterdam before to participate in the great adventure in VF with his peers, responsible for the other “verticals” in the Parisian structure (original films, acquisitions and co-productions, documentaries, comedy and stand-up, children and family). Forty employees have been recruited there to date.

Arsène Lupine revisited, with Omar Sy

No country boss at Netflix, and all the more freedom to select, develop and produce the “authentic and innovative” content he believes in. Damien Couvreur receives between 60 and 80 projects per month, reads them with his team of three people and says banco to those he deems suitable for a growing Netflix audience (6.5 million subscribers in France). Some have already proven themselves and are entitled to a season 2 (“Heart Plan”, “Family Business”, “Deadly”).

Others, furiously modern, will soon arrive on our tablets and smartphones: a revisited Arsène Lupine, with Omar Sy, or “La Révolution”, a reinterpretation of 1787 with fantastic connotations where the nobility is not only weakened by the claims of the people, but also by a blue blood virus. Series which Damien Couvreur cares about, showcases talents from diverse backgrounds. Beyond the formats, the frantic rhythms it imposes on creators and the budgets it has, this is also how the platform differs from traditional French channels.

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