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Russia’s Gorky Studio plans $60m renovation

Gorky Studio in Moscow has announced a $60m renovation programme as part of a larger plan to attract more international productions to Russia.

The filming facility was first opened in 1915 but has been in disrepair over the past 20 years and has not hosted any major productions.

Authorities plan to double the size of the studio over the next five years and aim to triple revenues over the same time-frame, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Russia has considerable work to do to boost its appeal to international producers. Moscow is a notoriously expensive city and foreign filmmakers have had problems in recent years with organised criminal elements and corruption. 

The challenges of the production industry are set against a background of increasingly chilly politics between Russia, Europe and the rest of the world.

Bruce Willis’ 2013 action sequel A Good Day to Die Hard was set in the Russian capital but largely doubled Budapest for Moscow, while Kenneth Branagh doubled Liverpool for Moscow in his spy drama Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. 

More recently, the BBC’s high-profile adaptation War and Peace (pictured) filmed selected scenes in St Petersburg, and at locations including Catherine’s Palace, which dates back to the early 1700s.

Actress and singer Barbara Streisand has announced plans to direct a biopic of 18th century Russian empress Catherine the Great, which could help increase Hollywood’s interest in cities like St Petersburg.

For more on filming in Russia, see our production guide.

Image: BBC