Sharp shots happen on their own backlots

Nu Image @ 20

During the last six years, Nu Image Films has quietly established not one but two full-service studios in unexpected locations.

The distrib bolstered its production power in Bulgaria by purchasing the former state-owned Boyana studio complex in outskirts of the country’s capital, Sofia, in 2006. Last year, it opened Millennium Studios in Shreveport, La.

While Bulgaria does not offer tax incentives, Nu Boyana Film Studios immediately attracted Hollywood as well as international productions seeking to take advantage of the country’s low production costs and the studio’s varied and historic locations. With a backlot housing 13 soundstages, Nu Boyana is Bulgaria’s leading production and service hub, offering state-of-the-art facilities at competitive prices. Under the company’s ownership, 180 feature film productions have been shot there. They include “Conan the Barbarian,” “Expendables 2” and Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” where a Stalin-era Gulag camp was built on the backlot and Bulgaria’s winter mountains doubled for Siberia.

Popular on Variety

Following its Eastern European success, distrib opened the Louisiana studio, a 70,000-square-foot, $15 million complex that covers 6.7 acres and houses the Stateside branch of Worldwide VFX.

While Millennium Studios president Diego Martinez says that it’s “easier and cheaper to shoot” in Louisiana compared to many other states, he admits that “the biggest reason” production in Shreveport makes sense economically is the state’s aggressive tax credits.

Five feature film productions including Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming “Olympus Has Fallen” have been shot at the studios, which consist of two soundstages and 14,000 square feet of office space.

Future plans for both facilities include back-lot expansion. And David Varod, head of Nu Boyana, hopes to entice productions with Bulgarian tax incentives that “could be voted in this year and (possibly) could be active in January 2013.”

Nu Image @ 20
Lessons of indie war survivors | Duo disdain prestige without discipline | Gill leads Millenium’s upgraded pic slate | Meet the key players | Lerner: ‘The Grey Zone’ is my favorite mistake | Sharp shots happen on their own backlots

More Film

  • Joe Keery appears in Spree by

    'Spree': Film Review

    It didn’t seem like there was a large portion of the movie-going population who felt that Todd Phillips’ “Joker” was too subtle, in either its commentary on the modern era of those who are involuntarily celibate, or its homage-like appropriation of classic Martin Scorsese movies. But maybe writer-director-producer Eugene Kotlyarenko has other information, since that’s [...]

  • Dream Horse Review

    'Dream Horse': Film Review

    Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization. Euros Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within [...]

  • Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein appear

    'The Nowhere Inn': Film Review

    Bill Benz’s high-concept rock mockumentary opens with a white limo speeding through the desert. The driver (Ezra Buzzington) has never heard of his passenger, the cult sensation Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent. “I’m not for everybody,” she shrugs. The driver is unsatisfied. “Don’t worry,” he glowers. “We’ll find out who [...]

  • THE_GLORIAS_DM_02-12-2019-00128.arw

    'The Glorias': Film Review

    In “The Glorias,” Julie Taymor’s pinpoint timely yet rousingly old-fashioned biopic about the life and times of Gloria Steinem, the legendary feminist leader is portrayed by four different actresses at four different stages of her life. Alicia Vikander plays her as a young woman wearing a sari as she travels through India, planting her flag [...]

  • Black Bear

    'Black Bear': Film Review

    Actor-writer Lawrence Michael Levine’s first two directorial features, “Gabi on the Roof in July” and “Wild Canaries,” were idiosyncratic indie hipster comedies of a familiar stripe. His third, “Black Bear,” is a much trickier proposition, a kind of narrative puzzle box in which one might be hard-pressed to find a solution, or even determine there [...]

  • Wendy

    'Wendy': Film Review

    Eight long years after “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin brings that same rust-bottomed sense of magical realism to the legend of Peter Pan, reframing J.M. Barrie’s Victorian classic through the eyes of the eldest Darling. “Wendy,” as the indie-minded not-quite-family-film is aptly titled, re-envisions its title character as a working-class kiddo raised at [...]

  • The 40-Year-Old Version

    'The 40-Year-Old Version': Film Review

    In Radha Blank’s semi-autobiographical comedy, the quadruple-threat plays “Rahda Blank,” a Harlem-based playwright who faces many of the same struggles and setbacks as her creator. It’s been more than a decade since Radha (as we’ll call the character) earned a promising “30 Under 30” award, and now, instead of getting her work produced, she’s teaching [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content