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Russia courts Hollywood with US$89 million studio

MOSCOW--A Russian company has spent US$89 million building Eastern Europe's largest production facilities in a field outside Moscow and hopes to lure Hollywood majors to shoot and produce movies.

The idea is to create a modern flagship studio that will make Russia a competitively priced destination for film projects and in turn modernize the local industry.

“It is one of the targets for us to invite international projects to get their experience, to get their technologies,” general-director of the Glavkino group Ilya Bachurin, told AFP.

Opened by President Dmitry Medvedev in February, on a recent tour the Glavkino studios were still dusty from the construction process and smelled of paint.

Bachurin, 42, a former impresario and television executive, led the way through the studios to show off echoing sound stages and high-tech 3D equipment.

The largest sound stage measures 3,108 square meters (33,4340 square feet), a space so large that it swallowed up a bus parked in the corner.

“It's the biggest in eastern Europe,” Bachurin said.

The studios have a Hollywood-style sign on the roof visible from passing planes. Their website boasts they are “equivalent to the best studios of America and Europe.”

So far one feature film has been completed at Glavkino: “August 8,” a strongly pro-Russian drama based on the 2008 Russia-Georgia war that was 90 percent funded by the Kremlin.

It aims to attract major global players to do studio shoots and post-production there and pass on their expertise to Russia's technically lagging film industry.

“In fact we do not need their money — it's not our major goal,” said Bachurin.

“We need to attract their experience and their specialists: those who can make the studio a part of the big international filmmaking industry.”

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Journalists inspect a model of the Glavkino film studio located just outside Moscow on Friday, June 27. A Russian company has spent US$89 million (72 million euros) building Eastern Europe's largest production facilities in a field outside Moscow and hopes to lure Hollywood majors to shoot and produce movies.

(AFP)

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