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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 14, 2006

$7.3 million film studio renovation complete

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

With the upgrades to the Hawaii Film Studio at Diamond Head, Hawai'i film commissioner Donne Dawson said "we have a facility that is ... going to be a very key component of our ability to market Hawai'i as one of the top filming destinations in the world."


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A $7.3 million renovation of the Hawaii Film Studio at Diamond Head that began last year was completed this month, an effort that Hawai'i's film commissioner said will help the state remain competitive.

The studio, on 7 1/2 acres at 18th Avenue and Diamond Head Road, was built in the mid-1970s by CBS for "Hawaii Five-0." Since then it was home to several television series and has been used for feature films and other productions.

The renovation included tearing down a dilapidated facility used for building production sets and storing props and replacing it with a new structure, as well as adding a new production office building. The state Legislature approved the funding in 2002 and construction began in February last year.

"I think that we have a facility that is marketable, attractive, up to industry standards and something that is going to be a very key component of our ability to market Hawai'i as one of the top filming destinations in the world," said Hawai'i film commissioner Donne Dawson.

The ABC-TV hit "Lost," which has been using the sound stage, will use the entire facility now that it's completed, Dawson said.

The latest renovation follows the development of the studio's modern sound stage in the mid-1990s and was critical to support production, Dawson said.

"It was difficult to market the facility in its condition prior to this current renovation," she said.

Hawai'i's film industry officials and others will celebrate next week the completion of the renovation and passage of Act 88, which revamps the state's entertainment-industry tax incentives.

Beginning July 1, Hawai'i's 4 percent production tax credit will rise to 15 percent on O'ahu and 20 percent on the Neighbor Islands. Credits available will be capped at $8 million per production.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.