Oz studio in the works

Coastal complex will include eight soundstages

A correction was made to this article on August 18, 2003.

SYDNEY — The developers of the Saltwater Studios are confident they will secure funding from private investors to build the film and TV studio complex, the first on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The $A100 million ($65 million) project will include eight soundstages and support facilities on 150 acres about a 15-minute drive from the Noosa beach resort.

Sharon Gerussi, a former head of business development at Blighty’s BBC Films and a onetime head of production at U.K. satcaster BSkyB’s Sky Pictures, signed on this week as Saltwater’s head of business affairs.

Gerussi, who had been a consultant for the developers since July last year, will target international films and co-productions, which the owners expect will be the studio’s mainstay.

Saltwater managing director Michael Hathaway is submitting a master plan to the local council early next month hopes it will be approved by the end of the year.

Construction should begin mid-2004, with the first productions in mid-2005.

Hathaway is convinced there will be demand to make his facility viable, despite the entrenched Warner Roadshow Studios on Queensland’s Gold Coast, the Fox Studios in Sydney and two complexes under construction: the Serenity Cove Studios in the southern Sydney suburb of Kurnell and the Central City Studios in Melbourne.

He expects hefty demand for Saltwater Studios’ commercial facilities — he is already holding deposits from two post houses.