Prague, Budapest unveil new stages


LONDON -- Studio facilities in two of Central Europe's key budget locations for shoots -- Prague and Budapest -- flagged the opening of major new sound stages Thursday.

Prague's Barrandov Studios -- where the new Bond movie "Casino Royale" was shot -- said it will cut the ribbon Monday on a 4,000 square meter (42,000 square feet) soundproof stage it claims is the biggest in Europe.

To mark the completion of Barrandov's new $5 million sound stage -- which took almost a year to build -- the studio facility will be hosting a grand opening gala for the stage in the Czech Republic capital Monday night, Barrandov's marketing manager Jan Susta said.

Stern Film Studio and Media Center near Budapest, Hungary separately announced the opening of a new film complex that includes two sound stages measuring 1,500 square meters and 2,200 square meters.

The studios, based a few miles outside Budapest in Pomaz, would "fill a void in the Hungarian film industry," the studio operator said in a statement.

"We are very happy to contribute to the Hungarian film industry infrastructure, now able to accommodate even the largest of Hollywood productions. The affordable rates and a generous tax incentive program make shooting in Hungary very attractive," founder and managing director Robert Szabados said.

The studio, a privately owned family business, offers a full catering and set construction facilities aimed at both small and large productions, he added.

Producers and service providers in both Prague and Budapest have long identified lack of sufficient studio space as one of the key challenges to expansion of both local and international productions in the cities.
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