$90 million Effingham movie studio: Is it really do-able? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

$90 million Effingham movie studio: Is it really do-able?

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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The independent movie company Medient Studios has announced grand plans for Effingham County – a $90 million movie studio, employing 1,200 people, with on-site healthcare and daycare for workers, a massive music venue and an interactive video gaming complex.

Medient is publicly traded (OTCQB: MDNT) and as of its last quarterly statement, filed in December, had no cash on hand.

The company is banking some of its success on two recent film – the British horror flick "Storage 24," which Medient CEO Manu Kumaran says has earned between $3.5 and $4 million, and "Yellow," an art film directed by Nick Cassavates, who also directed "The Notebook."

Kumaran says "Yellow" hasn't been released yet. Right now, there's a $370,000 legal summary judgment against Yellow's filmmakers in California. Canadian twin singing duo Carmen and Camille Thomas say they loaned $300,000 to the movie in exchange for roles, but they neither got the parts nor got repaid. Their father sued the filmmakers.

Kumaran, 43, has 12 film credits and four projects currently in production. He and his company have made films in India, the U.S. and the U.K.

Medient isn't revealing funding sources for the studio yet – citing pending agreements. In November, the company announced the addition of two members to its board of directors who may provide a hint: heir Matthew Mellon, descendant of the founder of Bank of New York Mellon Corp and the founder of Drexel-Burnham-Lambert, who currently serves chairman of the Republican Party of New York's finance committee – and Joseph Giamiachel, founder of the financial services company Umbrella Research and Advisory.

"In the movie business, people are always announcing 25 movies, 50 movies and nothing ever happens," Kumaran said. "But if you'll look at our track record, we've never announced something we haven't done."

Kumaran says Medient has a technology services company in line to provide $40 million in camera, lighting and other filmmaking equipment and that Medient is putting together a stock offering to raise another $40 million. Right now, the company is trading for 40 cents a share.

The final $10 million will be financed a capital lease from the Industrial Development Authority for the property where Medient plans to build its complex, located off I-16 near the Effingham/Chatham County line. The IDA owns that property.

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