Hollywood has just written its name across Thailand in Technicolor. At least that's what local film industry pundits are saying after the takeover of Cinecolor, Southeast Asia's biggest film processing company, by the US giant Technicolor Entertainment Services. The takeover was revealed a fortnight ago by Technicolor's parent company, French electronics conglomerate Thomson SA. Many in Thailand's film industry believe it is a sign of things to come as the kingdom aims to position itself as Asia's premiere one-stop centre for international filmmaking. 'People are starting to wake up to the fact that the business isn't just about Hollywood any more,' says Ric Lawes, chief executive of Location Thailand, which offers logistical and location advice to visiting moviemakers, as well as publishing a guide to film industry services offered in Thailand. 'The bottom line is that a lot of business was starting to move through Cinecolor - for example, they recently did something like 860 prints of The Lord Of The Rings series for New Line Cinema. That's a lot of film to process in anyone's language. Hollywood has been sniffing around here for a while, and this may not be the last big deal we see.' Technicolor is one of the most recognisable brands in Hollywood, and according to a Thomson SA spokesman, the latest deal positions the company to enter Asia's post-production and film-copying market as the dominant player. The spokesman added that the Australian-Asian market would become one of the chief growth areas for post-production and film laboratory services in the next decade. The purchase follows Cinecolor's comprehensive upgrade to its plant near the capital's Don Muang airport. More than 100 million baht (HK$19.4 million) was spent upgrading equipment and becoming fully digitalised, as well as increasing film-processing capacity to 1.2 million feet of film per day. In recent years, Cinecolor had become respected globally for its quality control and high standards. It became a printer for most of the major Hollywood studios and many independent American producers, as well as for filmmakers across Asia and in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East. According an industry insider it is a 'win-win situation for Technicolor'. 'It takes away some competition, and cements their world-wide reach,' the source said. 'They have labs in Los Angeles, Rome, New York, just outside Toronto, Barcelona and now Bangkok. 'Their main competitor, Deluxe, bought 50 per cent of Adlab, the biggest processing lab in Australia, about a year ago, so Technicolor had to do something to make sure it remains dominant in this part of the world. 'From the industry's point of view, Bangkok is probably a better base than Australia, if you are talking about being central to the region and saving a lot of time and money on shipping and handling costs. And from Technicolor's point of view, it's a walk-in open-up shop deal - because of Cinecolor's upgrade, everything is up to speed on the technical front and Technicolor won't have to bring in any major equipment. At the moment, Cinecolor is only running at about 35 per cent capacity, but expect that to change soon.' It is understood Cinecolor's Australian managing director, Les McKenzie, the driving force behind the company's rise to prominence, will stay on in that role. McKenzie cut his engineering teeth Down Under, working on now-iconic films like Picnic At Hanging Rock, Dead Calm and Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome. In an interview before the takeover he said Thailand was poised to attract some big projects. 'Just about everything a filmmaker could want is in place here now,' he said. According to a source close to Cinecolor, the deal was a real vindication for McKenzie. 'They used to laugh at him when he started going to Hollywood to talk about what he was doing in Asia,' the insider says. 'The bigwigs all thought Bangkok was only about piracy and rip-offs and that nothing of quality could be done. It looks like he's had the last laugh.' The price of the takeover is confidential, but it is understood Cinecolor's management are happy with the terms. Lawes says the deal is a great way for Technicolor to hedge its bets. 'In the US, the cost per foot of processed film is a lot higher because of the unions and labour costs,' he says. 'If they can save a few cents per foot of film and Cinecolor is running close to capacity, not to mention what they'll save on shipping costs from Bangkok, it starts to look like a very smart deal.' Lawes says he hopes the deal will help promote Thailand as a place where filmmakers can come and shoot their whole film and do the processing. 'This can only be good for us,' he says. 'Just look at the skyline now, Bangkok is booming. Big things are in the wind. We've got all the infrastructure in place for making films. We've just got to get the message out.'