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Film production studio opens in Portland

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Film production studio opens in Portland

PORTLAND — The Maine Studios, a new film production facility on Presumpscot Street, officially opened this week.

Filmmakers and state leaders are hoping the studios will boost Maine's film industry.

"This will bring under one roof some of Maine's most creative minds," Gov. John Baldacci said during a visit to the studios Tuesday. Baldacci was joined by more than a dozen members of the Legislature and about 100 other studio supporters.

Laurie Notch is president of Wasted Minds Entertainment, the film company that opened the studios. Notch said the idea gained support from state officials during the last legislative session in Augusta, when a film incentives bill was being debated. Although the bill was tabled, Notch said there was support for a cooperative film studio in the state.

"We're helping to rewrite that bill," Notch said.

The 43,000-square-foot warehouse that is now The Maine Studios was formerly storage space for Nappi Distributors. Members of the Nappi family attended the studio opening Monday and were lauded for giving the building to the film industry.

"The Nappi family has really taken a leap of faith here," Wasted Minds Chief Operating Officer John Seymore said.

Frank Nappi Jr. said he met Notch through his real estate broker, Tom Dunham, of the Dunham Group. The two share a love of horror films.

The family decided to lease the warehouse at 235 Presumpscot St. to Wasted Minds at a substantial discount.

Portland Mayor Jill Duson said the studios fit perfectly in a city that is working to strengthen its "creative economy."

"This will help to fuel Portland's vibrant entrepreneurial culture," she said.

Notch is hoping The Maine Studios will pull the industry together. She said she has received interest from other filmmakers in the state who want to lease space at the studios, which has production offices, storage, a sound stage and accommodations for pre-production, principal production and post-production projects.

The space is open to other creative venues, as well, Notch said.

"We're hoping this will be a real congregatory place," she said. 

Seymore said they've also offered space to The Maine Film Office, a division of the state Office of Tourism.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net