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Pinewood Studios brings movie magic to Malaysia

Pinewood Studios brings movie magic to Malaysia

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 Lake.

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 natural forest.

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.

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