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Carol Schmidt


Jan 7, 2004, 2:25 PM

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"Huge film production complex in works for SMA"

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Here's another story from the Guadalajara Reporter, posted by the author of the story on another SMA list.

Carol Schmidt

>Huge film production complex in works for San Miguel de Allende



Story by : Bob Kelly

>The announcement of an end of federal funding of the Churubusco studios and film school, increases the need for a state-of-the-art production center

>A 48 million dollar film production center with a film school, family recreation park, and residential, retail and office areas is being planned for San Miguel de Allende, with work scheduled to start on a 250-acre site by March. The entire complex will be in full operation by 2007 if all the funding is in place by the end of next year, said Francesca Fisher, founder and acting chief executive officer of The Film Colony, which has been planning the project for five years.


>“We raised the seed money in San Miguel and northern Mexico to buy the property and begin clearing the land and developing the water and power systems,” Fisher said. “With the team of film industry specialists we’ve assembled, we expect we will raise the rest of the money within a year.”


>When in full operation, the complex will provide from 600 to 900 jobs, including up to 200 crewmembers working on any given movie, she added.


>The average film has a 15 to 20 million dollar budget, about half of which is available to be spent here. “We want to provide a clean, creative industry that enhances the image of San Miguel as an artistic part of Mexico, while providing employment opportunities at the same time,” she stressed. “We are also providing for controlled growth to protect the environment through water recycling, wetlands preservation, and waste treatment equipment,” added Fisher.


>Although historic San Miguel regularly attracts film and television producers because of its well-preserved colonial look, Fisher said, it loses films that need movie-making facilities, such as sound stages, back lots, and a large base of film crews. The recently announced end to federal funding to support the Mexican film industry, including the venerable Churubusco studios and film school, increases the need for a state-of-the-art production center, she noted. Churubusco needs an expensive updating, Fisher noted, while the Film Colony will be providing the latest technology.


>A separate entity, the Film Studio Group, will manage and operate the film production center, including six sound stages and a back lot. The group includes the managers of major studio facilities in Los Angeles and providers of wide-ranging production services to the movie and television industry.
The Queretaro-based office of Hines Interests, SA de CV, part of one of the world’s largest real estate development and management firms, will handle project management, Fisher said. Hines Interests, who developed the industrial park between Queretaro and San Miguel, has extensive knowledge of local building logistics and project management, she added.


>The project will also include an institute to train film crews, with emphasis on the art department and a not-for-profit arm that will receive a percentage of the operation’s profit to help fund Mexican film makers.


>The complex will also increase the area’s appeal to tourists — a San Miguel priority — with an eco-park featuring a waterslide and ride through a jungle area, tours of the back lot when it isn’t being used for filming, a Moroccan-themed shopping area that will offer rental office space, a bistro and wine bar, and a winery and vineyard.


>A 100-lot European-style residential section, built around small plazas and callejons, will be developed on a hillside. The Film Studio Group will build villas on the first 50 lots to be sold to house the stars working nearby, Fisher said. Cars will be banned from the area, with golf carts and valet parking filling the gap.


>A resident of San Miguel for nearly 20 years, Fisher started Pelicula Quetzal, a film prouction company in 1988, whose client list includes major producers such as Disney, Warner Brothers, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as independents from the United States and other countries. Her company also produced the 1995 film “Shadow of the Pepper Tree.” A native of New Zealand, Fisher maintains business interests there and is a senior partner in a property development and management company. >



Glen E. Chandler

Jan 14, 2004, 5:48 PM

Post #2 of 3 (1790 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] "Huge film production complex in works for SMA"

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Carol,

The article you posted said there would be many opportunities for employment. Would all of these positions necessarily have to be filled by locals - Mexicans?

If the production company is owned by someone other than a Mexican citizen, would there be the possibility of an American obtaining employment with the production company in some capacity? Or would they have to prove that no Mexican wanted or needed the job?

Glen Ellen


Brian

Jan 21, 2004, 3:12 PM

Post #3 of 3 (1746 views)

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Re: [Glen E. Chandler] "Huge film production complex in works for SMA"

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This was snipped from today's New Zealand Herald:

Zorro rides again

Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins will reunite for a sequel to The Mask of Zorro when filming begins under the direction of New Zealander Martin Campbell, who directed the 1998 film, also shot in Mexico, as well as the James Bond flick Golden Eye and the New Zealand-filmed mountain drama Vertical Limit.

The sequel will be shot, starting in about six weeks, in San Miguel de Allende in central Guanajuato state.
 
 
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