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Mediapolis progresses with Hollywood ambitions

Infinite Studios' opening reveals two large soundstages
Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 06:00

[SINGAPORE] A piece of Hollywood has been in Singapore for the last year and is set to grow.

Infinite Studios at Mediapolis formally threw its doors open yesterday, revealing two of Singapore's largest soundstages and a cluster of tenants that span the length of the media production process.

The $60 million development now has 17 firms as tenants - an occupancy rate of close to 77 per cent - said Mike Wiluan, chief executive officer of Infinite Frameworks, the development's anchor tenant, yesterday.

The 24,078-sq-m development is a joint venture between Ascendas and Citramas Nusaterra, which have a 70 per cent and 30 per cent stake in the project respectively. It is the first media hub to be completed at Mediapolis, Singapore's ambitious stab at growing a regional media hub here.

Mr Wiluan said Singapore has all its ducks in a row where this goal is concerned:

"We are, visually, a very exciting destination. (Secondly,) what we can offer today that we did not offer before is a facility like the soundstages, which are on par with what Hollywood offers," he told reporters at a briefing.

"(Thirdly), Singapore has an incentive programme that allows the slightly higher cost of production to be defrayed somewhat. We want more productions to flow through Singapore.

"Fourthly, we have an emerging talent base. We have artists who are very good."

Infinite Studios' soundstages have already hosted the production of Hi-5, an Australian children's TV programme; negotiations are underway for the production of another season.

This year, the soundstages are slated to see more action, with two international feature films in the pipeline. One of them will be Infinite Frameworks's very own project, a science-fiction movie, Mr Wiluan said.

"No one has done science-fiction in Singapore, and it's appropriate (for this) to be done in a soundstage," he said.

Now, Infinite Frameworks counts as fellow tenants a cluster of heavyweights such as Discovery Networks, Namco Bandai and Globecast Asia.

But even as Singapore rolls out the red carpet for Hollywood, the Iskandar Development Region in Malaysia has been doing some celluloid wooing of its own. British film production company Pinewood Shepperton has set up shop on a 20-ha site there.

Even so, Mr Wiluan sees Pinewood's presence in the region as an opportunity for more collaboration.

"We know Pinewood well . . . we're looking towards collaborating with them on strategic partnerships where there is overflow of work (or) for sharing talent," he said.

At the launch yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, the guest of honour, noted that the Infinite Studios' facilities bode well for Singapore's media industry.

"The completion of Infinite Studios means that Singapore is ready to take on large-scale film and TV productions for a global audience," he said.

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