Overhaul planned for Mexico’s Churubusco Studios

Digital facility would keep post-production local

Mexico’s National Arts and Culture Council (Conaculta) has unveiled plans for a 240 million pesos ($20 million) overhaul of Estudios Churubusco, the nation’s most important film studio complex.

The revamp, to be completed by the close of 2012, includes a 30,000-square-foot state-of-the-art digital post-production facility, which should allow local films to be completed without going abroad, integrated into a multi-purpose building that also houses 47,000 square feet of offices and production service facilities.

About $2.5 million of the funding at the facility, in the Churubusco neighborhood of Mexico City, will be directed toward new technologies, according to Conaculta prexy Consuelo Saizar.

The revamp, however, will require the demolition of the Tin-Tan and Luis Bunuel structures and the relocation of the current post-production lab, two points on a growing list of concerns that threaten to mire the development.

Victor Ugalde, prexy for the Mexican Society of Directors and former head of government film funding program Fidecine, told the local media he is concerned that the cost of the center may drain coin away from film production.

“I think there needs to be a call to community members to see the pros and cons of this remodel,” Ugalde told the daily El Universal ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

Ugalde also talked up the need for a law forcing TV nets to back Mexican film.

Still standing, but clearly creaking, Estudios Churubusco was built in the mid-1940s and has housed hundreds of productions, including most of the pics shot in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema from the mid-1930s to 1969.