Enter the new kid on the all-inclusive, Euro megastudio block: Ciudad de la Luz, Spain’s giant new production facility. Its name means City of Light, which is the nickname for Alicante, a metropolis on the Mediterranean coast where the studio is located.Ciudad de la Luz has stepped up its marketing and publicity campaigns with the aim of becoming Europe’s hot new destination studio, challenging the likes of the Czech Republic’s Barrandov, Romania’s Castel, Italy’s CinecittÃ , England’s Pinewood and Shepperton.As part of this effort, the facility is expanding its on-site technical and service supplier/vendors talent base, and is upping the incentive for production companies by lowering the costs of housing talent, both above- and below-the-line. The studio also offers a variety of exteriors, post capabilities, mill shops, aqua tanks and a base of experienced local crew.Sonia Parra, head of press relations for Producciones Aguamarga, the company that manages Ciudad de la Luz, told Below the Line that the studio is getting the word out about its facilities. As part of its marketing strategy, it organised a meeting in the fall with international film professionals from all over the world.Below the Line: What percentage of Ciudad de la Luz’s Studio was funded by the Spanish government?Sonia Parra: Ciudad de la Luz Studios has been funded entirely by the regional government of Valencia. The project is managed by Producciones Aguamarga, a Spanish company formed by experienced European and American film professionals headed by the celebrated filmmaker Luis GarcÃa Berlanga.BTL: What projects can you mention that are confirmed and booked to film at Ciudad de la Luz?Parra: They include La Dama Boba from Flamenco Films, now on site; Lo que sÃ© de Lola from Malvarrosa Media; Teresa from Lola Films; and Rhythm of Habana from Monfort Producciones. For 2006, several projects are still under negotiation.BTL: What vendors have set up installations at the studio? Can you describe the stages that will become available on the lot?Parra: We have signed agreements with both Panavision and Construcciones EscÃ©nicas Moya. As for the other areas, we are also in negotiation with other renowned film industry providers. Ciudad de la Luz will be built in three different phases. We have just finished phase 1, which includes six soundstages, three production support buildings, two backlots with natural horizons and a mill and workshops building. More production support space, a catering building, the extension of the backlot, an aquatic filming area with natural horizons and one of the world’s biggest superstages (53,000 sq ft) will follow.BTL: How many locals are employed by Ciudad de la Luz? What is their level of experience in comparison to the local crews of Barrandov, Shepperton and Castel Studios?Parra: Ciudad de la Luz employs over 100 people. Spain has a film tradition that dates back to the ’50s and there are many highly trained professionals with experience servicing international productions.
Written by April MacIntyre