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Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 8:12pm

Medient CEO Briefs Effingham County Officials On Studio Project

Updated: 4 months ago.

The new CEO of Medient Studios says the film company is “very much moving forward” following a shakeup in leadership last month. CEO Jake Shapiro attributes a lawsuit by the former CEO and co-founder, Manu Kumaran, to nothing more than “the griping of a fired employee” and “sour grapes.”

On Thursday evening, Shapiro updated the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority on the progress toward building a multi-million-dollar studio complex near Savannah.

Shapiro says Medient recently hired architect Bill Foley, who was involved in the construction of Pinewood Studios in Fayetteville. He says Foley “is on the cutting edge of design for sound stages," and says Foley has cut the anticipated $90 million cost of the project by 70 percent by reworking the original studio design.

The 1500-acre property initially placed the studio in a location inaccessible from public roads without substantial road re-construction. The new design allows easy access from Old River Road, decreasing spending that would have gone to paved roads. Final plans should be complete in two weeks, Shapiro says.

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended Medient from trading in June because of questions concerning public disclosure policy.

Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry says he's “cautiously optimistic” about the project. He says he hopes the studio will bring jobs to the county and the region.

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