Burnaby film studio grows by one

Burnaby’s Canadian Motion Picture Park is once again expanding.

Known as one of the largest movie studio complexes in Western Canada, CMPP will be opening Cineprep (short for cinema prep work) by the end of this year, the NOW has learned. It will be the company’s fifth building since launching in 2001 with the original MJA Studios.

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“This facility will be one of the largest stages in North America for a mega film,” said Alec Fatalevich, CMPP president. “If this concept works, we’ll put three more facilities like this in the next little while.”

Fatalevich couldn’t divulge much detail about the design and the technology to be installed because his team is still in the process of getting a patent. He did say, however, that it will be very “versatile,” giving both TV and film producers the ability to work on their projects all under one roof.

“As a producer, the biggest challenge is to find a place that you can do prep work for your film, where you can have the wardrobe department, construction services, special effects, visual effects, etc.,” he explained.

Cineprep will stretch over 47,000 square feet and will be located at 6008 Thorn Ave., just a couple blocks away from the other studios. Right now, the site is still under construction, with shovels hitting the ground just last month.

Fatalevich, originally from Ukraine, was a biomedical engineer by trade. It wasn’t until he moved to the United States and met TV producer and now wife, Marjorie that his love for the movie industry flourished. Both worked as independent producers for many years, at places like CBC and the Knowledge Network.

“Out of necessity, we decided to build our own studio because the business was very tough many, many years ago,” Fatalevich told the NOW during a recent interview.

In 1999, Fatalevich met Wolf Isachsen, a Realtor at the time, who helped secure the plot of land on Byrne Road for MJA Studios. The first major motion picture to come knocking was I, Robot.

“That movie gave us an incredible push with credibility because they complimented the facility many, many times,” said Fatelevich. “After that, we figured we did something right, said let’s look at the bigger picture, and I moved from being a producer to a developer.”

Isachsen, now CMPP’s vice president of development, and Fatalevich have since then expanded the business to include CMPP1 (built in 2004 on Glenwood Drive), which has four stages ranging from about 9,000 square feet to 21,200 square feet. CMPP2 came along two years later with another four stages, followed by Pacific Studios in 2008, and now Cineprep. In addition to those interior sets, an entire New York City exterior set was also built nearby.

Some of the flicks filmed at the Burnaby complex include Mission Impossible 4, the Twilight series and Godzilla. The TV series Supernatural, meanwhile, is currently heading into its 11th season.

When the complex is completely booked, Fatelevich said up to 2,000 people can be seen working on and off set, while up to 40 companies “make a living off the productions.”

When asked about plans for retirement, Fatalevich laughed.

“Age is determined by your attitude, behaviour and drive. It’s not what’s in your driver’s licence,” he said.

For more information, visit www.cmppstudios.com.

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