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Korda Stúdió opens its doors

The state-of-the-art Korda Film Stúdió has announced that four sound stages of the $124 million (€91 million) budgeted movie-making facility are now open for business.

According to international communications manager Dániel Kresmery, testing is currently being conducted on what analysts are touting as one of the most technically sophisticated film studios in Hungary and central Europe. Located on a former missile base in the town of Etyek, 17 miles (28km) west of the Hungarian capital, the Korda Stúdió is being developed by construction company Arcadom Zrt, owned by Hungarian-born (and Etyek-born) real estate mogul Sándor Demján, who has backed some of the largest property developments in Hungary and the region.

Minority investors in the studio include Hollywood producer Andy Vajna (who was born in Hungary), financier Nathaniel Rothschild, co-chairman of Atticus Capital LLC, and Canadian businessman Peter Munk. According to Kresmery, previous report that the Hungarian State Development Bank is investing in the facility is incorrect. "The Korda stúdió is rare (in the region) in that it is privately funded," said Kresmery. The facilities currently available at Korda are a twin sound stage with total area of 38,000 sq. ft., a 10,500 sq. ft. stage, and a 21,500 sq. ft. sound stage with a 36 x 36 x 12 ft. water tank. Work continues of the facility's major attraction: a 60,000 sq. ft. wet "super stage" which will boast headroom of 65 ft. and the option of the world's largest indoor water tank (40,000 sq. ft.) This stage and the entire complex are scheduled to be completed in early 2008. According to studio managing director László Krisán, the facility is able to service productions of any size, especially big-budget theatrical releases.

The long-awaited opening of the Korda stúdió, in step with tax incentives offering productions a 20% rebate on costs spent in Hungary, is expected to draw international productions, and spur local filmmaking. The Korda stúdió may also shift the profile of its primary investor Demján as one of the region's top cinema moguls. Demján is responsible for Hungary's West End Shopping Centre (one of the largest malls in central Europe) and scores of developments across the region. Rumors have recently circulated in the Hungarian press that Demján sealed a deal to develop a studio in Moscow. Krisán said that although Korda is in talks regarding setting up movie-making facilities in Russia, nothing has been finalized. (