British producer plans to invest 8 million euros to build film studios in la Bisbal d'Empordà

‘Extraordinary Film Studios’ may open its doors as early as 2011 and employ some 80 people. The company already has three films scheduled for the new studios.

CNA / E. Rosanas

December 17, 2010 09:53 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The British film producer Chris Samwells is planning an ambitious project in Catalonia. Samwells wants to invest 8 million euros to build film and television studios in Catalonia. The proposed studios would be located in a 3,600 square metre space in the Catalan town of la Bisbal d'Empordà, next to the Costa Brava. According to Samwells, the goal is to take advantage of the area’s “beauty” and provide it with an industry. In the next five years, 25 million euros are expected to be invested in the territory.

La Bisbal d'Empordà will be the new home of ‘Extraordinary Film Studios’. The proposed 3,600 square meter space aims to both revitalize the area with new businesses and boost the country’s film industry. The studios would be comprised of the most innovative new audiovisual technology and hope to attract investors with its top-notch productions

This Friday, British film producer Chris Samwells presented his project in Barcelona. Baditri distributor Toni Badimon accompanied him. Samwells spoke of the Catalan film industry and suggested that it is not following the right path to convert itself into an industry. He added that producers must reinvest their proceeds back into cinema without the help of the administration, guaranteeing “international distribution” of the films. For this reason, Samwells says his project is “sustainable”.

According to Samwells, the plan is to build “a small framework” that highlights the “beauty and locations” of Catalonia’s heritage. He added that the studios would employ some 80 local people. Samwells wants to give an opportunity to local professionals that do not have a very promising future in the current Catalan film industry. To accomplish this, one of Samwells’ ideas is to hold a workers’ screenwriting contest where the winner has the opportunity to turn their script into a film.

8 million euros will be invested to construct the studios, but around 25 million euros are expected to be invested in the studios in the next 5 years. The majority of the funding comes from Newport Capital as well as private European investors. According to Samwells, no Catalans have invested in the project. Samwells suggests that the “public and businesses should see cinema not as a loss, but as a business”.

The first production slated to be filmed is entitled ‘The Chameleons’. The film, which will begin production is January of next year, will be directed by Samwells himself. ‘The Chameleons’ has a 5 million euro budget. The 2nd film will be ‘The International Brigade’, a film about life during the Spanish Civil War. The 3rd proposed project is an animation.

In addition to these projects, the studios will be a space for other producers to make films for television. The studios will open in January of next year, but will not be fully complete until September.

Extraordinary Film Studios will collaborate with the film distribution company Baditri. Toni Badimon said that while they could not invest financially in the project, they could help boost the Catalan film industry to overcome the crisis.