With growing demand from international film production, improved local incentives and a strong pool of talent available, Rising Sun Pictures has launched a major expansion effort. The VFX co is adding significant space and technical resources to its Adelaide production studio, and expects to increase staff by nearly a third in the next few months.
Known for its work on Hollywood blockbusters such as Thor: Ragnarok, Gravity and X-Men: Days of Future Past, RSP is ramping up for a slate of new projects for Disney and 20th Century Fox — another entry in the Marvel Comics mutants franchise, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The two decades old studio is fresh off one of its busiest times ever, having just delivered large packages of effects for Tomb Raider and Peter Rabbit. The studio also just finished its first major Chinese feature project, Animal World, which has been picked up by Netflix following a strong showing in China.
“We’ve seen a considerable uptick in production activity over the past 12 months and we are confident that it will continue over the next year. We’re adding new talent and space to meet the demand,” says RSP co-founder and Managing Director Tony Clark. He adds that recently expanded government rebates (he state’s recent introduction of a 10 percent rebate for visual effects and post-production work, on top of the federal government’s existing 30 percent) have made South Australia a magnet for high-end visual effects work. “The rebates, alongside RSP’s reputation for producing high-calibre, complex work, create a lot of opportunities. We compete advantageously with VFX vendors throughout the world.”
Clark expects RSP will staff over 280 employees by the end of the year. One significant hire is veteran visual effects supervisor Tom Wood, who earned a 2016 Oscar nomination for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road. The studio is also expecting to continue to grow its character animation team. The group has made significant contributions to all recent projects and has helped the company broaden its creative offering.
To ensure a steady influx of capable talent, RSP is also expanding its highly-regarded education program in partnership with the University of South Australia. RSP recently added new undergraduate courses in visual effects skills and expanded its Graduate Certificate program. That program has provided intensive, hands-on training to aspiring artists, many of whom have stepped directly into industry jobs at RSP and elsewhere.
“Our education program has become integral to what we do,” notes Clark. “It allows us to develop entry level talent who are job-ready. It’s become a very useful tool in identifying and nurturing promising young talent.” In terms of senior talent, RSP casts its net worldwide.
Clark adds that, where the rebate programs have drawn film productions to South Australia, a favorable lifestyle has had a similarly magnetic pull on experienced visual effects artists. “We have a strong advantage in that South Australia is quite a nice place to live. It is especially appealing to established artists who have young families. It offers a beautiful environment, great schools and a vibrant culture. As a company, we have always placed high value on our people and have had a strong focus on providing our people with a good quality of life while working on the best projects.”
Learn more about the studio at rsp.com.au.