Livonia New movie studio producing sci-fi thriller

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan's latest movie studio is at work on what is being billed as one of the first CGI features made fully in the state.

Maxsar Digital Studios is developing "Scar 23," a $16.5-million science-fiction thriller that utilizes computer-generated images, the Detroit Free Press reported.

According to The Detroit News, Maxsar has built a 55,000-sq. foot sound stage and renovated offices.

The Livonia studio employs about 50 workers, WWJ-AM reported. By December, the studio hopes to employ 100 people.

Maxsar CEO Philippe Martinez said Maxsar plans to make one CGI movie a year along with smaller films and will be looking for a U.S. distributor for "Scar 23," which should be completed by March 2012.

The movie's story takes place in a futuristic Detroit, renamed Viamensa, which is the only city left after a nuclear apocalypse.

"Scar 23" stars Antoinette Nikprelaj, who was born in New York City and grew up mostly in Troy and Rochester. She's a model and aspiring actress who originally sought a job as the lead's double and wound up being cast in the main role.

When Martinez set out to open the studio, he counted on having to import talent from Los Angeles.

But Martinez soon realized that wasn't necessary, continually meeting locals who had the talent, the passion and the work ethic he wanted.

"We've based our entire company on local talent," he said. "The big challenge has been to train these people."

"Scar 23" will be Maxsar's first major production. Other projects include a comedy called "Bag Monkeys" and a family saga TV series, "Off Woodward Avenue."

Martinez, lured by the state's lucrative film incentives, arrived in Michigan in 2008 and already has made two direct-to-video movies here: "The Steam Experiment," which was filmed in Grand Rapids and stars Val Kilmer, and the yet-to-be-released Wesley Snipes thriller, "Game of Death."

Published: Thu, Feb 10, 2011

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