Plans are under way for an ambitious new Italian studio complex comprising nine soundstages and two water tanks to be soon built in the Southern Italian region of Apulia.
The Apulia Studios, as the planned facilities are known, are being launched by Italian entrepreneur Antonio Albanese with two former Apulia Film Commission executives, Silvio Maselli and Daniele Basilio, on board as consultants.
Albanese has acquired a former aquatic theme park on a 450,000-square-meter (122 acre) lot in the province of the port city Taranto. The plan is to convert this space into a sprawling state-of-the-art studio by 2021.
“We saw something unique in this site that stems from the location,” said Basilio, who noted that being on the site of a former theme park is an advantage because the park’s pools that can be converted into water tanks. “Right now anyone who needs to shoot in a water tank in Europe has to go to Malta,” he noted.
The location, Castellaneta Marina, is a few miles from beautiful beaches and golf courses and less than an hour away from Taranto international airport.
Basilio said architects and engineers have drafted a project envisioning a total of 18,000 square meters (19,000 square feet) of soundstage space with the largest of the planned nine soundstages measuring 5,000 square meters (5,300 square feet).
The trio expect to fully finance the €50 million ($54 million) project within the next three months with construction planned to start later this year. The plan is to open the first facilities — the medium-sized studios and the water tanks — in spring 2021, with the remaining soundstages to be completed by the end of that year.
Basilio, who in tandem with Maselli recently launched a Rome-based production company called Fidelio, said that with streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon ramping up production in Italy — both platforms now have Italian outposts — the country is “now ready for another major studio facility.” He noted that Rome’s Cinecittà Studios and other smaller Italian studios are overbooked.
Italy’s 30% tax credit for production with a €20 million (roughly $22.6 million) cap and a smart cash-back structure have been instrumental to luring more foreign shoots such as Netflix’s “The Two Popes” and upcoming Bond pic “No Time to Die” that partly shot in the Apulia region.