Sarasota Plans Major Sound Stage

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Mon, 06/06/2016 - 13:59 -- Nick Dager

Sarasota plans major sound stage in Florida. Students working on a short film.WEDU PBS, Semkhor Networks, and Ringling College of Art and Design have signed a letter of intent to develop a wide-ranging collaboration centered on a new sound stage and post-production facility, which is slated to be fully operational in 2017. The first large stage will open later this year. The new facility is designed to take full advantage of the rapid advancements in digital production and distribution with the flexibility to support a wide range of content production.

“We look forward to developing this partnership with Semkhor Networks and Ringling College of Art and Design. The new studios in Sarasota will provide an additional base of operations for WEDU that will enable us to expand our programming from this region,” said Susan Howarth, WEDU president & CEO.

“The possibility of working with WEDU in the new facility is exactly what we were hoping for. Their range of productions will help jumpstart the success of the project as will their experience,” said David Shapiro of Semkhor. Shapiro will work with the college to operate and manage the commercial aspect of the facility. “This project will help boost regional economic development and provide professional-level experience and connections for Ringling students who will learn by being part of those productions.”

The full facility is scheduled to open in 2017.The partnership is already creating opportunities. WEDU's production team was in Sarasota this week documenting the production of a web series being directed by Golden Globe winning actor and director Dylan McDermott and filmed by Ringling College graduates and students in Sarasota. Dylan created Sugar, which centers around the story of a young runaway and is the first in a slate of professional production partnerships between Semkhor Productions and Ringling College of Art and Design.

WEDU will profile the behind-the-scenes development of Sugar and the Ringling College/WEDU/Semkhor alliance during an upcoming episode of WEDU Arts Plus. The Sugar web series directed by McDermott will premiere in early 2017.

“We’ve enjoyed working with WEDU on a variety of projects in the past. This new collaboration represents an outstanding opportunity for Ringling College students to gain an additional layer of production and writing experience and we welcome the chance to work closely with them in our new facility,” said Dr. Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College.

Ringling College and Semkhor have developed a unique alliance that is at the forefront of digital production working with a wide range of recognized talent. The projects being discussed range from ongoing web series to traditional television. The approximately 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art professional soundstage and film and television post-production complex is tied to the college’s academic needs and is expected to attract a broad range of commercial production, as well as WEDU productions. When complete, the college will conduct filmmaking classes and students will work on any commercial productions that use the complex.