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City news, 13.01.2006 16:19

And Russia is cashing in, too

film_industry A BRITISH company is involved in building a big film studio in the heart of St Petersburg, where shooting is said to be up to 30 per cent cheaper than in the West.

The $7 million studio, covering more than 5,000 square metres (55,000 sq ft) near the Hermitage Museum, will open by September, offering facilities to suit any size of production, including blockbusters. The driving force behind the project ó which has been made possible with Russian backing ó is Thema, one of the financiers of Woody Allenís Match Point. St Petersburg is the next stop for a film industry that is increasingly moving east, notably to the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. Downfall, the acclaimed film about Adolf Hitlerís life and death in the Berlin bunker, was shot in Russiaís second largest city. Roland Joffe has just filmed an American thriller, Captivity, in Moscow.

The St Petersburg project is depressing news for British film-makers who were shaken this year when they discovered that James Bond was defecting to Eastern Europe.

Eighteen of the Bond films were made at Pinewood, but Casino Royale, the 21st in the series, is being shot in the Czech Republic, where a set-builder earns as much in a week as his British counterpart earns in a day.

News source: timesonline.co.uk

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