BUDAPEST, May 6 (Xinhua) -- One of Europe's largest and most modern film studio complexes was opened in Budapest on Thursday.
Michael Moore, president of Raleigh Studios, co-investors in the project with local group Origo, called the 75 million dollars studio on Thursday "the best film-making and post-production facility in Europe".
The complex, called Raleigh Studios Budapest, was finished in April and occupies an 18 hectare site on the eastern outskirts of the Hungarian capital. It comprises some 38,000 square meters of film studio space, including eight sound stages, one of which is the largest in Europe.
"Our goal has been to establish a studio in Europe that will support world-class movie producers with very strong American and European service-provider brands like FotoKem, Hollywood Rentals and ARRI Group" said Moore at a press conference in one of the studios.
The investors hope the facilities will be used for pre- and post-production by American and European producers for films, TV and advertisements. Set construction for the first film is already underway, a Hollywood-funded production "Monte Carlo", while a further seven projects are under negotiation, according to Moore.
Moore said California-based Raleigh Studios, one of the largest independent film studio groups in the world, had been looking for a headquarters location in Europe for some time. "We decided on Budapest due to its amazingly diverse architecture which enables it to double for many cities, its central location and accessibility within Europe. He also said Hungary's rich tradition in film-making was a factor in the decision. "Some of Hollywood's greatest directors and producers have been Hungarian, and there is a large pool of skilled professionals today as well".
Moore acknowledged that the relatively cheap labor costs in Hungary compared to western Europe were also key. Istvan Kovacs of Origo Group said the added value of the Hungarian staff will be huge. "80 to 90 percent of the staff on productions will be Hungarian", said Kovacs.
The investment was supported by state funds of 800,000 dollars. Hungary also offers 20 percent tax rebates on films shot in the country. Kamilla Szandrocha of the Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency said the facility will create around 100 full- time jobs. "It will have a beneficial economic impact on Budapest as well as boost the city's international profile," she said.