If you’re feeling ready for your close-up or you’re a film buff, then you’re likely to enjoy the latest region design by Lotus Mastroianni and frecoi (who have been responsible for A Little Havana, The Missing Whale, Kun-Tei-Ner, Hope, and most recently ChatuChak (read here, here, here, here and here for more).
Replacing the last of that list – ChatuChak – is RioSisco Studio Pictures, a homage to the great American film studios complete with nods to a range of films, genres and periods – and with multiple opportunities for photography and to be immersed in the magic of film-making. It is a setting that reproduces all the major elements of a film studio and studio tour, and presents some outstanding opportunities for geeting involved with all that is on offer – as the region’s Flickr stream already reveals.
Set out as a studio lot, the region features everything from prop warehouses to back lot façades to green screen sets and miniatures, all the way through to a studio’s public commissary to offices and a screening room. With it comes some of the bustle of a working studio – a set under construction, visitors touring and eating, and studio execs keeping an eye on things. Even the name of the region carries with it echoes of the silver screen: “RioSisco” offers a suggestion of the Cisco Kid, a film series made in the early decades of motion pictures through until the immediate post-World War 2 period.
The attention to detail poured into the region is astonishing; the nods to films and franchises are both large and small and numerous – and so are the touches of humour. Literally everywhere you look, there is something of a homage to be found. The treats start right next to the landing point, which sits outside sound stage 25. Look inside the building and you’ll see a city backdrop, a short street façade and a marvellous miniature of a street scene in which you can make yourself feel like a latter-day Gulliver visiting a modern-day Lilliput.
However, this is easy to overlook simply because, just down the road from the landing point Godzilla is out for a stroll among the buildings – and tend to capture the attention as a result. He’s passing a rooftop billboard celebrating the Star Trek franchise’s first foray onto the silver screen (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979), and is apparently in pursuit of Ecto-1 (disguised as a MadPea prop). The block of buildings to the right of both Godzilla and Ecto-1 reveals one of the more famous aspects of outdoor film lots: the building façade – the entire block is little more that plywood supported by scaffold – as visitors can see when they step inside or peep through the windows.
The centre of the region is where a new set is under construction, and some of the humour can be found. I’m not entirely sure how much protection a paper hat gives against falling timber, but the chap wearing it seems happy enough!
It is the inclusion of these construction figures and others throughout the region that give life to the region and the feel of it being a living studio that encourages visitors – just step into the commissary on the ground floor of the building across the construction site from Godzilla to see what I mean. And while there, be sure to take-in the various nods to a range of famous films along the back wall. Or you can pop across you Stage 34 and participated in a small stage / green screen shoot.
Take the steps to the upper floor of the building next door to the commissary and more treats await. Here can be found characters from the original Star Wars films, together with concept art and storyboards from a number of films – how many can you recognise?
Nor is this all; echoes of the Jurassic Park franchise abound throughout the location, and have already offered multiple opportunities for photography. Off to the south of the lot sits a homage to another franchise and the Universal Studios ride it gave birth to, while another iconic character from Hollywood’s monster movies pounds his chest from a rooftop.
Be sure, as well, to check out the warehouse in Stage 38, which has a range of props and vehicles, including some that might again be recognised by film fans, with one in particular likely to raise a smile; where else might you come across Chucky piloting a Mech walker from (I think) Avatar?
From an opportunity to stage your own version of Singing in the Rain or a scene from Blade Runner’s wet alleyways to getting chased by zombies or simply kicking back in the viewing room, RioSisco Studio Pictures offers a great visit with plenty to see and appreciate. Definitely one not to miss.
- RioSisco Studio Pictures (Dfine Island, rated Adult)