Eric Matheson, who ran Fore River Sound Stage in South Portland until February, says he hopes to open a new film production business in Portland this summer.
Matheson, a longtime film production professional and a founder of Fore River Sound Stage, said Friday he is negotiating a lease for a new business to operate in a building at 235 Presumpscot St. in Portland owned by Nappi Distributors. Matheson said with the closure of his facility in South Portland, the name of the new production company would be Native Son Productions.
Matheson announced in February he was giving up his lease of the former National Guard armory on Broadway in South Portland, where he had operated since 2011. He said at the time he could not continue his business because the state had not done enough to help companies like his attract filmmakers with tax incentives. He also noted the lack of heat and hot water in the armory building.
Matheson said he is now hopeful state legislators will pass a current proposal for film tax incentives. He has until the end of April to move all of his equipment out of the armory and should know by then if his move to Portland will become official, he said.
The Presumpscot Street building has been home to film production businesses for the past five years or so. A film production and post-production business, Real Media Solutions, is there now and will remain. Matheson said the site he would occupy is already a “full-fledged studio,” making for an easy transition.
Fore River has done about a dozen commercial and feature film productions during its time in the armory building, which is owned by the city of South Portland and is at the foot of Casco Bay Bridge. Matheson said if he opens his new business in Portland, he’s not sure what kind of business he’ll attract – commercials, feature films or TV.
“We’ll take what we can get,” he said.
Matheson, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, has had a long career as a film production designer as part of the crew on big-budget films around the country, including “Message in a Bottle” and “The Perfect Storm.”
This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. April 5, to reflect a misstatement in the name of the new company. Fore River Sound Stage in now closed. Matheson said the name of the company he is hoping to establish in Portland will be called Native Son Productions.
Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: