Hollywood film boss wants to make Portugal “Europe’s special effects capital”

An ambitious project to create a €100 million animation studio called ‘Playground’ in Portugal has been announced by Hollywood film executive Scott Ross.

His goal is to make Portugal “Europe’s special effects capital” by building a studio for “animated films and shows, special effects and video games”.

“My ambition is to turn Playground into the Pixar of the 21st century,” Ross told Jornal de Negócios.

The 65-year-old film executive is one of the co-founders – alongside reputed director James Cameron and make-up artist Stan Winston – of Digital Domain, an American visual effects company which has worked on a number of blockbuster films such as ‘Titanic’, ‘Apollo 13’ and ‘Armageddon’.

In an interview with Domingo magazine, Scott explained that he “fell in love” with Portugal when he came here five years ago to take part in the Trojan Horse at the Unicorn (THU) festival in Troia.

“I was fascinated by the sun, people, wine, atmosphere and landscapes. And I haven’t even visited many places, just Troia and Sintra,” he said.

But more importantly, one of the key reasons Scott is interested in Portugal is because it is a place where people can “live and work safely” without the constant threat of terrorism.

“And that is very important financially,” he told Domingo.

Right now, Scott is looking for partners to bring ‘Playground’ to life.

Nearly €10 million are needed to get the project started and another €90 million to keep it going.

The idea has been pitched to the Ministry of Economy and the mayors of Lisbon and Porto in hopes that they will support the project.

He guarantees that “anyone who invests in the studio will own it partially and make money when it becomes successful”.

Scott also stressed that ‘Playground’ would create “hundreds of jobs”.

If the plan fails to move forwards in Portugal, Ireland and Italy are the next possibilities.

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