A Bahrain wealth fund is in advanced talks to invest €200 million ($213 million) in Italy’s nascent Tuscany Film Studios, which are being built by producer Andrea Iervolino just outside Florence.
The technologically-advanced production complex, boasting a large set with a virtual water tank, an immersive 360 studio for live-action productions, a 250-acre backlot and a luxury hotel with a movie theater, is being built in the municipality of Impruneta in the Chianti countryside about 20 miles outside of Florence.
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Iervolino, who was recently at the Venice Film Festival as a producer of Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” announced in August that he was investing €50 million ($53 million) in the Tuscan facilities. The studios’ business plan now envisions a more than €300 million investment, according to sources.
Sidney Wheatley, who is chief investment officer of Mashael Group — an independent petroleum trading and investment group owned by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Salman Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain — confirmed in a text message to Variety that “our family office is currently evaluating the possibility of investing around €200 million” into the studios.
Wheatley is also CEO of Mashael Movies, which is a prominent digital production outfit across the Middle East and India, especially in animation, VFX and technological innovation applied to new forms of production.
However, the high-tech Tuscany Film Studios will be primarily geared toward attracting costume period pieces that can benefit from the picturesque Tuscan hills as a backdrop. To this end, Iervolino is also in talks to forge a partnership with the Manifatture Digitali Cinema production service hubs in the nearby city of Prato, which have workshops to make costumes and set elements.
The stated goal is for the Tuscany Film Studios to be up and running by the end of 2024.
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