In a rare interview, Luc Besson went on the record in French daily Le Figaro last week to voice his fears about the current state of French cinema.

"I can't help but be worried about French film," he said, "It's evident that American film attacks from every end intending to annihilate our pocket of resistance by any means...via co-productions, distribution or buying up movie theatres in Europe but I don't intend on being pushed around and I'll do everything I can to continue to produce in France.

Besson's studio, Europa Corp, is one of the most successful start up ventures in France of the past few years - in the article he cites a "profitability" of Euros 15m for the company.

Besson himself has not directed a film for several years but notes that he still receives "a script per week" from the US.

He also registered his disappointment that a director like Mathieu Kassovitz, whose recent film Gothika was produced by Joel Silver, "is obliged to go to the States to make ambitious films. French film is just surviving and we need all of our talents to make it thrive."

Europa had some hits and misses in the past year, but the company regularly churns out high-profile projects teamed with new talent honed by Besson. Some criticise the company for a hefty production slate that's not always in the auteur vein but Besson says, "It's important to maintain a cultural mix. To only do big films would cheapen our cinema (but) they are the ones that finance smaller films and first films. Thanks to the Taxi series we were able to finance 15 first films this year."

Besson also spoke about the importance of foreign sales for its films and noted that both Michel Vaillant and Fanfan La Tulipe, neither of which lived up to expectations in France, were profitable before their releases thanks to pre-sales.

Regarding Europa's desire to go public, the situation remains unchanged since it was first talked about last year. Besson said the company has received approval from the COB (France's equivalent of the SEC) and is waiting for the right moment when media stocks are more attractive to the marketplace.

Europa's upcoming projects include sequel Crimson Rivers 2 : Angels of the Apocalypse, Thai actioner Ong Bak and the Jet Li-Morgan Freeman starring Danny The Dog.