Malaysians’ love of cinema has driven the Government’s effort to move
up the movie production value chain and produce more world-class films in the country
with the establishment of Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Iskandar, Johor.
Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia is part of the UK-based Pinewood Studios Group, a leading provider of studio and related services to the global film and television industries. Recent productions which have used Pinewood’s facilities include Thor: The
Dark World, Fast and Furious 6
and World War Z.
The Malaysian facility is led by Michael Lake, its CEO, who said that the studio
here is aimed at creating an international industry in the country, with RM1.9 billion
projected to be spent on film production between the studio’s completion in
July 2013 up to 2020.
“Malaysia is a hidden gem. It’s a great location, English speaking and
has a stable economy and Government. I can’t understand why more international
films haven’t come here [for production]. With the world-class studio being
built here, this gives the country the opportunity to offer this service," said
He added while the local film industry is already quite established, with around
50 films released in 2012 and another 70-80 movies expected in 2013, the industry
remains very domestic-driven. “This facility is about attracting international
production, with budgets of up to US$30 million," he said.
Among facilities the studio will offer includes five stages ranging from 15,000-30,000
square feet (sq ft) in size, two TV 12,000 sq ft studios equipped with high definition
and an audience capacity of 1,400, 35,000 sq ft of production office space and dressing
rooms and 37,000 sq ft of workshop space. It will also provide post-production facilities,
including editing rooms and a screening theatre, and a backlot with 30 acres of
TV studios and post-production facilities at the studio have already gone live,
following the completion of technical installation and systems integration at the
end of 2012.
In addition to attracting investment, the establishment of Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia
will also benefit the local economy; creating employment and demand for services
such as accommodation, entertainment, transport, and even steel and timber supply
to build film sets.
“It’s about creating an international industry. What we found here were
gaps in the depth of crews and knowledge of international production. Therefore
we’re also doing a lot of work in training, and are working with the Ministry
of Human Resource’s Department of Skills Development to cross-train people
in the film industry," said Lake.