Local government backs offshoot of Churubusco

MEXICO CITY– What’s being touted as the largest studio in Latin America is being planned in the Mexican state of Durango, backed with $15 million in local government coin for the first phase of development.

Organizers hope to break ground in December on what will be an offshoot of Mexico City’s historic Churubusco Studios, providing the incoming administration’s new appointee for the arts council approves the plan and any remaining hurdles are overcome.

Durango governor Jorge Herrera and Consuelo Saizar, head of national arts council Conaculta, announced the mega-project Thursday.

Plan is to convert the long-closed Vergel wine factory, including 11 warehouses on 222 acres near the city of Gomez Palacio, into studios and offices. It will also house an offshoot of the CCC national film school, a major talent incubator.

In a phone interview, Sergio Gutierrez, head of the Durango film commission, dubbed the project Churubusco Studios North. Churubusco is the busiest facility in Mexico, having served the industry for more than seven decades.

Durango’s majestic canyons and deserts have made it a longtime favorite location for Westerns, and the state has hosted an annual average of six major shoots in recent years despite global economic woes and the violence that has plagued the region.

President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), comes into office Dec. 1 and will name new execs for various departments. Governor Herrera is a member of the PRI, which could be a good sign for the project.

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