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Las Colinas Studio Hosts Few Feature Film Productions With AM-AP Arts: Texas Movies

September 9, 1985

DALLAS (AP) _ The studio at Las Colinas opened with a big bang in 1982 when the movie, ″Silkwood,″ starring Meryl Streep, was filmed there. Today, feature film production has dwindled to a whimper.

Still, the sound stages at Las Colinas remain a symbol of the Texas film business.

The studio, part of mega-developer Trammell S. Crow’s lavish, planned community just outside Dallas, has three sound stages and stays busy with commercials and music videos. Genesis, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell have all recorded there and Stevie Wonder, Linda Ronstadt and James Bowie used the sound stages as rehearsal halls before touring.

Since ″Silkwood,″ only a few feature films have been made at the Dallas Communications Complex. However, according to its president, Joe Pope, the studio has not been a disappointment, even though it has yet to turn a profit.

″It basically was developed to be part of the local industry, not for Hollywood,″ said Pope. ″It’s symbolic to what the industry in Texas is going to be.″

Jennifer Loeb, production coordinator of Las Colinas, said filmmakers do not flock to Texas to shoot inside or to do studio work. They come to go on location. ″I think a big part of our future lies with the independent filmmaker,″ she said.

One such project is ″True Story,″ a feature directed by David Byrne, lead singer of Talking Heads. Shot on location in Dallas, stage work will be done at Las Colinas.

Pope, who would prefer keeping the stages filled with commercials and industrial production, said he primarily tries to attract the high-profile film work to keep up the Dallas image and to keep the complex tenants busy. They range from caterers and talent agencies to recording studios and film labs.

″Clearly, Las Colinas has become a highly visible symbol of the Texas film industry, probably more than it is due,″ says Joel Smith, head of the Texas Film Commission.

The studio at Las Colinas lost about $1 million last year and it probably will continue to lose money over the next five years or so, Pope said. ″A development like this, by its nature, would incur some loss in a five-to seven-year term.″

The first phase of the Dallas Communications Complex, which now has about 100 tenants, cost $35 million, including the $10 million studio. An ambitious, long-range plan forsees vast additions that eventually will cover more than 100 acres.

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