Barrandov plans upgrade, not for sale

Construction to begin in a few weeks

PRAGUE — After years of dallying with prospective buyers, the Barrandov Studios has said it’s not for sale. Instead, it will upgrade and expand, according to CEO Radomir Docekal.

The upgrading is already under way. Barrandov took advantage of an upheaval in the local sound servicing industry to refurbish and add to existing sound studios. They’re part of Barrandov’s scheme to provide all services from pre-production through post.

A second recent addition to post-production is the country’s first laser titling machine, a welcome addition to the local distrib industry, where subtitled rather than dubbed films are the norm.

Next on the horizon: three interconnecting stages incorporating the studio’s third water tank.

Hammer-and-nail time

Construction is expected to begin once a building permit is granted, perhaps within the next few weeks, with the stage fully operational in 2004. “We’re planning on it,” Docekal told Daily Variety, with pencilled-in bookings filling the studio into spring.

He also spoke of increased interest from foreign companies looking to take advantage of Prague’s growing reputation as a Euro film center. Rental houses and post-production companies are likely arrivals.

“After mid-2000, when we join the European Union, it will be easier to open their businesses here,” Docekal said.

Barrandov already offers labs, set construction, camera rental and a costume department, among other services. The studio still lacks its own special effects department, which falls under the studio’s expansion scheme.

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