By Douglas Williams
Not many of us here in Bucharest relaxing in front of an HBO or Netflix series are aware that crucial components of programmes being watched are actually created right here in the Romanian capital.
Studio Set, a major full house production studio located near Piata Romana, produced chunks of the hit Netflix series “Hackerville” with affiliate studio Framebreed producing Nickelodeon’s favourite yellow square “Spongebob SquarePants” among many others. Added to that the studio also produces commercials with many currently airing around the world for clients that include Coca Cola, Vodafone, Lidl and KFC.
“There was a time,” says Andy “Sinboy” Luke, “when Studio Set would be seeking out and pitching to studios and agencies but now they are approaching us.” Andy is a designer, artist and animator who has been with the studio since its inception more that 10 years ago. Back then there were but three people involved but now it has grown to an impressive operation across three floors with a team of more than 60. Lending 3D expertise Framebreed joined forces with Studio Set and Framebreed has within it Loo Loo Kids who are producing some of the highest quality kids animation in the world and chalking up some incredible figures in the process: 57 million views for their Twinkle Twinkle animation! Loo Loo Kids provides the perfect solution to parents worried about babysitting by ipad as the content is extremely high quality, safe and with wholesome, positive messages somewhat at odds with a lot of the material out there.
“It’s the same with many industries – Romania offers a highly educated and skilled workforce in combination with competitive prices,” says Andy. “We have world class talent but we’re in Romania so costs are lower than in California for example – we offer a value solution.”
The current Romanian renaissance in film production can be dated back to the US Civil War movie “Cold Mountain”, according to Andy a punk rocker of dual Spanish and British citizen but Bucharestian for the past 20 years or more. The 2003 epic was shot largely in Romania with it’s thrilling climax taking place in the spectacular gorge beneath Magura and above Zarnesti.
Studio Set is not even the only or even the largest of its kind, says Andy, “this industry is flourishing here in Bucharest and in Romania and it can only be good thing, providing high quality, skilled work and training for Romanians.”