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Brit prod’n firm tosses hat in ring with Prague Studios

Midnight Transfer nabs minority stake

PRAGUE — British post-production firm Midnight Transfer has taken a minority stake in Prague Studios, in a deal concluded Dec. 10.

In Prague, Midnight Transfer CEO Neil Harris told Variety, “It’s a two-fold involvement. We’re involved in the studio, and we’ll have a actual presence, establishing a satellite facility, offering complete post-production service here.”

The partnership comes just as Prague Studios is set to embark on an ambitious two-year expansion plan that will substantially enhance stage and post-production facilities in the Czech Republic. The studio, which officially opened its doors on three renovated stages less that a year ago, has secured an additional 15 adjoining square acres and is set to begin construction of studio and support space in early 2003.

“Prague Studios is building a sophisticated infrastructure, a synergized post-production environment,” studio founder Tomas Krejci tells Variety.

Harris says Midnight Transfer should be operating out of Prague by early 2004, offering complete visual post services with satellite and fiber connections to facilitate working with L.A. and London. Prague, which has emerged as one of Hollywood’s favorite runaway film destinations, has seen existing stages booked to capacity during the past three years. Prague Studios can already boast the “Dune” TV miniseries, Emmy winner “Anne Frank” and “XXX” among its credits. The stages are booked through the end of summer, with Dracula update “Van Helsing” and Sony’s comicbook-based “Hell Boy” both shooting there.

“The studio is in discussions with local and foreign suppliers about setting up shop on the lot.

When the development is complete, Harris says, “We’ll be the only studio in Europe that will have the entire package,” from pre- through post-production.

Krejci envisions further expansion as producers turn to Prague for more demanding projects. “We’re creating an incredible synergy between digital, audio and digital post-production,” he says.

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