×

Cannes: Medient Bows High-Tech Plan for Georgia Studio

Indian production company Medient Studios promises to revolutionize the process of filmmaking as it unveiled plans to build high-tech studio facilities in the U.S. state of Georgia in Cannes on May 15.

The 11-year-old OTC-listed company, which earlier this year acquired Munich, Germany-based sales agent Atlas Intl., also unveiled a slate of six indie movies.

Ground was broken last year on the first phase of Medient’s Studioplex site near Savannah, Ga., with physical construction commencing next week. The first soundstages will be complete by the end of the year, and additional facilities added over the subsequent three years.

The first phase of the complex will cost some $90 million to build. Medient said it had received $10 million investment from Effingham County Industrial Development Authority and a $40 million loan from India-U.S. post-production and visual effects company Prime Focus.

The Studioplex is designed to be an integrated campus that combines the best practices of a workflow pipeline. In addition to stages, the site will offer post-production, employee housing and robotics and is designed to be highly environmentally efficient.

Medient estimates that through technology and use of a permanent staff that works on multiple movies, production costs can be cut by 40%. That will either enable large-budget studio movies to reduce their production costs, or make indie productions more competitive.

“Workflow has not changed since the analog era,” said chairman and CEO Manu S. Kumaran. “We aim to take away the low skill elements of filmmaking and make workflow match the modern films of the digital era.”
Shooting of footage for games and multiple-language versions of visual effects-driven movies is expected to be standard working practise.

Kumaran said Medient did not specifically seek a base in the U.S., but was attracted to Georgia by the state’s tax and relaxed labor conditions. “It is a right-to-work state and it is one of the few states where rebates for the film industry do not have a sunset clause. If they expire after eight years, we would hope to have sufficient economies of scale by then.

“Pre-visualization is expensive, but the data is typically thrown away. We will use that data to drive robots (at the production stage) and for the actual visual effects,” said Kumaran.

“If you consider that the four main costs of making a movie are talent, equipment, crew and post-production, by building Studioplex we are investing in three of those elements and simply financing movies in a different way.”
Medient has produced 14 movies over its 11 years, including Indian drama “Mr. Singh/Mrs. Mehta” and British horror “Storage 24.”

By lowering costs Kumaran said the company also minimize the need for pre-sales of its own productions.

Medient/Atlas’ Cannes sales slate includes 4K nature documentary “The New Wilderness”; $12 million actioner “Kickback”; Savannah-set horror thriller “The Damned”; “Kilat,” a martial arts actioner from its Asian partner, Malaysia’s Tarantella Pictures; recently announced Indian political documentary “The Battle for Banares”; and Atlas Intl.’s “Der letzte mensch,” by Pierre-Henri Salfati starring Mario Adorf, Hannelore Elsner and Katharina Derr.

For “Kickback” it has non-contractual letters of intent from John Cusack, Famke Janssen, Mischa Barton, Sean Astin and Rutger Hauer.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

  • Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton

    Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton to Head Programming

    Nexstar Media Group has become the nation’s largest owner of TV stations after completing its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal creates a broadcasting colossus with more than 200 stations serving more than 100 markets, although a number of stations will be divested to keep Nexstar in compliance with FCC ownership limits. Nexstar, [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    Judge Sides With Michael Jackson Estate in 'Leaving Neverland' Dispute

    A federal judge is leaning towards granting the Michael Jackson estate’s move to take HBO to arbitration in its dispute over the documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Judge George Wu issued a tentative ruling on Thursday in which he denied HBO’s motion to dismiss the estate’s case. Wu is expected to make the ruling final by the [...]

  • Homecoming

    Peak Storytelling Here as Podcasts, Short Form Ride New Wave

    The concept of peak TV is nothing new. But scratch the surface of original content these days, and it’s no longer about television — from podcasts and short-form video, storytelling itself is at a peak. Thanks to audio, video and other new platform companies including Gimlet, Quibi, Wondery, iHeartMedia and Serial Box, listeners and viewers [...]

  • Patti Smith Cambridge Folk Festival

    Patti Smith Muses Over the Many Ways to Tell a Story

    It’s Sept. 11, and Patti Smith has been thinking a lot about people who died. This is understandable. It is, of course, the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and an annual time of mourning for New York City, the city that Smith adopted as her hometown 50-plus years [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content