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Meridian Gets the Big Picture


A 50,000-square-foot, cavernous ex-Coors distribution warehouse on Commercial Court in Meridian—in the thick of the Eagle Road "health-science and technology corridor"—is about to get a makeover.

The brick behemoth will soon be home to Silverdraft Studios, a movie studio that will produce film, TV and "new-media" projects, and Silvertag Live, which will focus on live entertainment—concerts, theater, corporate events—with "specialized services in talent acquisition, event production and event marketing."

The studio is the result of a new partnership between Sandra Cavanaugh and Amy Gile of Dramatic Entertainment and Paul Thornton (ex-Bravo Entertainment CEO) of Thornton and Group.

Build-out on the new building was scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 3, and will include administration offices, the studio and space for post production as well. The first major production is slated for April, a movie titled Fault Line, produced by Cavanaugh and starring actress Olympia Dukakis. Unicorns, produced by Heather Rae, is scheduled to begin production in the Meridian studio soon.

At a recent press conference, the three founders and managing partners repeatedly referred to the new studio as "the most technologically advanced studio in the Northwest."

Meridian mayor Tammy de Weerd, who was also present, applauded the efforts of Cavanaugh, Gile and Thornton, stating the studio will provide a large number of "job opportunities, education opportunities and revenue for Meridian." She added that the studio will benefit not only the surrounding areas, but should provide any number of opportunities for the entire state of Idaho from a "ripple effect," with money pouring into Idaho's economy from the increase in food, hospitality and other service industry needs during the course of each production.

As members of the media, filmmakers—including Thomas Lewis, Rae and Ben Shedd—huddled around a couple of tall, portable heat lamps in the unheated building, Thornton explained that with every dollar spent on a movie budget, as much as $11, can go directly into the surrounding community. With expected movie budgets at Silverdraft Studios anywhere from $2 to $20 million ... well, you do the math. Thornton stated that studies show when a particular place is featured in a film, tourism to that area can go up as much as 50 percent.

The theme for the conference seemed to be the idea that a technological hole exists in the entertainment industry and that Silverdraft's technological advances will hopefully land them in the same playing field as Hollywood's big-name movie studios. It will be interesting to see if Silverdraft is welcomed onto the Time Warner/Dreamworks/Walt Disney team.