21-02-2008

Astra Film Studio set to open in Hungary

By

Astra Film Studio (www.astrafilmstudio.com), a new Hungarian studio that will cater to mid-budget movies in the $10-30 million range, will open for business in mid-March, Eva Herskovits, one of the managers, told FNE on Feb. 19.

The studio, located just outside Budapest in Mogyorod, will feature two of the highest (15 metres) and most technologically advanced stages in Hungary, one 2,400 square metres and the other 2,200 square metres. The stages will employ cost-effective, environmentally friendly state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems. Office space totals 2,000 square metres and there are provisions for expansion if necessary. Total cost of the investment is €6 million.

The company has five owners -- three professional and two non-professional investors -- but Astra declined to disclose their names.

Budapest is still in stiff competition with Prague in attracting productions to Central Europe. Herskovits said the owners see plenty of opportunity and do not believe the market will be saturated, unless two or three more studios were to be built.

Astra Film Studio was built in a record time; the project got under way only in October. The management plans to open the gates without fanfare because a shoot is scheduled immediately after opening, Herskovits said.