Russian studio complex opens first stage

$250 mil St. Petersburg site under construction

MOSCOW -- Russian World Studios , controlled by the Sistema group, has opened the first stage of its new studio complex in St. Petersburg and announced plans for expansion abroad.

Sistema has invested $100 million in the studio complex so far, and the total cost of the project is estimated to be $250 million, Sistema Mass Media general director Andrei Smirnov told reporters Wednesday in Moscow, adding that the complex is expected to be completed within three years.

Industry insiders said that St. Petersburg has recently been seen as more attractive than Moscow as a Russian film production site.

The company plans expansion to the Baltic and Mediterranean states as well as to India and China, Smirnov said.

RWS has offices in London, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and operates as both a production company and studio service provider.

In addition to RWS, Sistema owns film company Thema Production, which has invested in several local and international films including Woody Allen's "Match Point" and Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn."