French government set to support major film studio in south-west
by Liza Foreman
25/04/2012 - The brainchild of the Toulouse-based architect, Bruno Granja, a major new film studio is set to be built on a former military airfield in the south-west of France.
As of last week, the Toulouse project has the backing of the French government and Raleigh Studios, which has been expanding in recent years in setting up a number of studios outside its core base in Hollywood, including a facility in Budapest, Hungary.
Raleigh Studios President Michael Moore (pictured) said that the planned studio will be a one-of-a-kind facility: “The Toulouse studio will be unique in France in that in addition to having a production component, it will also have a tourism and entertainment component. We want this to be an entertainment destination that will service all forms of media. We will release more details on that at a later date.” The plan is for the Raleigh facility to be situated on the 111-acre lot at Francazal, a former military airfield near Toulouse. Other partners may still join the project, according to Moore: “Bruno Granja is the founder of this project and is currently working with a development and investment team,” he said.
”Raleigh is often approached by developers, governments and private investors who want us to be involved in studio projects. That is the also the case in this instance. We were engaged to do a study on the feasibility of opening a studio in Toulouse. France itself has a significant and proud film-making history, and it continues to grow.”
Initially it seems that Raleigh was trying to move the project along faster than the French politicians were able to, but the hope is to have the deal completed for the land by the end of 2012.
The reported cost of converting the site would range from €80 million ($116m) to $144.5m. The plan is to conserve the airbase infrastructure.
“Through Mr. Granja, we understand that the government is in favor of this project. The initial meetings we have had with local government agencies and the level of support has been encouraging,” said Moore. “Mr. Granja is currently working on the schedules with us and the development team. We should know more in the coming weeks.”
Staffing for the Toulouse facility will be mostly French with some U.S. personnel on board. “Although there may be a few US staffing positions, the primary work force will consist of French residents,” said Moore.
In Budapest, Raleigh spent $70 million on a 45,000-square-foot facility featuring nine soundstages and 15 acres ofback-lot. Sebastian Faulks's novel Birdsong is among the projects to have filmed there.