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Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 04:28 PM EDT

Motion Picture Studio Complex Coming to Panama

Panama NewsA new plan to develop a motion picture studio complex in Panama was announced this week by the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. According to the press release, the studio will include soundstages, office space, screening rooms and space for tenants offering camera, grip, and electric packages. The plan means a new step for Panama's newly-born industry, after a Film Law that was passed earlier this year while the country's first international festival was taking place. The project is being led by a partnership that includes Oscar winning producer Jonathan Sanger, veteran location manager Sam Tedesco and attorney Michael Moore. "I've always felt that Panama would be an ideal location for the development of a vibrant film industry," said Sanger, who grew up in Panama and has lived and worked in several Latin American countries. "The country is a major melting pot with a wonderful ethnic mix, and spectacular locations that have rarely been exploited for film."

Tedesco took Mark Wahlberg’s action movie Contraband to shoot in the country last winter. “Panama City is such a modern and sophisticated place for basing actors and crew,” said Tedesco. “But what really sets Panama apart as a location for a studio, aside from its infrastructure, its proximity to the United States and its use of the US Dollar, is the jaw dropping variety of looks found in the country, allowing a Producer to replicate everything from New York to Los Angeles, as well as classic Caribbean architecture, lush jungles and rivers.”, he added.

The group is teaming up with the Panama Film Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Panama International Film Festival and the National Film Association (Asocine) to promote Panama internationally. “We realized the economic potential and the touristic and cultural impact the film industry could have in our country,” said Panama film commissioner Arianne Benedetti. “That’s why we recently created a film festival, passed a law with financial incentives for film production, and we are going to fully support a studio project. We’re the new kid on the film block and we welcome the world’s film community to be part of our journey.” (hollywoodreporter.com)

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