Cheryl Huggins has been named Executive Director of Wildflower Studios, a film studio co-owned by actor Robert De Niro. Wildflower Studios is planning to open on July 1, 2024.

The studio is located in Astoria, Queens, and features eleven soundstages spanning 765,000 square feet. Wildflower Studios was developed by De Niro, his son Raphael, and managing partner Adam Gordon. Huggins previously held executive positions at Quixote Studios and Sunset Studios. 

When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gordon said the construction costs came to approximately $1 billion. The studio sits on a five-acre plot previously owned by Steinway & Sons, close to rival studios Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios. The team behind Wildflower Studios hopes to revitalize the New York production scene with help from Kaufman Astoria and Silvercup. The entertainment industry is still reeling from the actors’ and writers’ strikes that took place last year, and Wildflower Studios sees this as an opportunity to shift the industry away from Los Angeles. Streaming services in particular are looking to shoot projects outside of LA, and Netflix’s Zero Day and Paramount’s Smile, Smile Deluxe have already started filming in New York City. 

Wildflower Studios already has an exclusive equipment agreement with Robert Halmi’s Phygital FX. The company will further cement its reputation for partnering with local New York businesses by offering “New York City level food,” a project reportedly important to De Niro. “It has long puzzled me that in one of the greatest food cities, cast and crew were eating at craft tables. We will reset the bar,” Gordon said in a statement.

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In addition to these goals, the studio will represent a fully equipped media production facility for the highest possible production value, an anomaly in New York City. The 11 sound stages are each approximately 18,000 square feet with ceilings reaching 45-foot heights. They are soundproofed with a rating of NC-25 and outfitted with NIC-55 acoustic elephant doors that can connect three stages. The space boasts over three hundred parking spaces and twenty-six loading docks with easy access to the stages to provide the smoothest possible loading and unloading to the stages. Freight elevators are also conveniently placed for the best access. 

De Niro’s illustrious career and reputation in the film, coupled with the state-of-the-art facility, are sure to attract productions to Wildflower Studios. He has been nominated for nine Academy Awards already, with his most recent nomination coming in 2023 for his supporting role in Killers of the Flower Moon. He’s won two Academy Awards, for Best Support Actor in 1974 in The Godfather Part II, and for Best Actor in 1980 in Raging Bull. The Cecil B. DeMille Award was also given to De Niro for outstanding contributions in entertainment, and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2019. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with decorated director Martin Scorsese, with whom he has made films including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull. 

De Niro has dipped his toes into various business escapades, including Wildflower Films. Back in 1989, he teamed up with his business buddy Jane Rosenthal to co-found TriBeCa Productions, and he owns the swanky Tribeca Grill in Manhattan. Plus, he’s in partnership with Meir Teper and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, co-owning the Nobu chain of restaurants and hotels.