$ 50million studio nearing completion, likely asset for international films
The $ 50 million main building at “Wallywood” in Upper Hutt is nearing completion, and 12 productions were already interested in moving in when the state-of-the-art film studio opens in April.
Lane Street Studios in Wallaceville should be a boost for the local film industry and an attractive card for international films.
Demolition of the old data center at the foot of the Wallaceville Hills in Upper Hutt began in July of last year, and construction began in November.
General manager Kristy Grant said productions cannot legally reserve space until construction of the studios is completed. But 12 projects, ranging from digital media to film and television, were already in talks with Lane Street, she said.
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The Covid-19 had caused small delays and increased the budget by $ 5 million.
The main building, covering an area of 6,300 square meters, housed a huge stage B for the construction of sets and the filming of exclusively photographic sequences. There was a 40-seat projection room, offices for the production and accounting team, and a collection of editing rooms with shared kitchenettes in each hallway.
There were huge rooms with walls of windows to maximize natural light, intended for the accessories, makeup and costume departments.
On the other side of the building was a full kitchen and dining room for caterers, accommodating 55 people.
Chief Strategy Officer Melissa Conway said many building materials, such as windows and doors, were reused from the old data center building.
The spaces have been designed to be as flexible as possible. Crews renting the space would bring all their equipment with them – even the computer servers, she said.
It could hold a total of 500 people, Conway said – potentially housing multiple productions at once.
The industry consultation had made them aware of the need for productions to have the option of additional office space, Grant said. The rooms have been designed in such a way that, in larger spaces, “you can easily throw shreds”.
Behind the main building are two breathtaking sound stages, approximately 2,300 square meters each, reaching 17 m in height.
Grant said they made an effort to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible; in addition to the reuse of materials, office furniture was largely made from recycled materials,
The landscaping on the 10-acre site would consist mostly of native plants, and it was planned to create an underground garden, covered with grates, allowing drainage and air purification while allowing vehicles to park on it. .
Grant, one of the team behind the Miramar Creative Center, said industry training will be an important part of this project. The spaces could be used to provide education and hands-on experience working on a production to better equip the film industry of the future.
There were big reasons for productions to choose Lane Street as their base, she said. A rare asset for Lane Street was that it housed everything on one site, Grant said, from pre-production to editing.
Grant was confident they would find productions to fill the space – there was no shortage of featured and commissioned content. Everything from virtual reality games to big budget blockbusters was on the program.
Closing the borders was not as big an obstacle as one might think, Screen Wellington chief executive Nicci Boucher said. “We only need a few people across the border to unlock hundreds and hundreds of jobs,” she said.