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Rising Sun Pictures Expands as Australian Production Bounces Back

Studio’s business growth enhanced by Australia’s strong COVID-19 response, generous government incentives, and Australia’s PDV offset; creative team to top 225 at Adelaide location.

Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) has announced new studio space and production capacity fueled by a return to pre-pandemic work conditions and the growing lure of government production incentives. The studio got a boost because of Australia’s strong COVID-19 pandemic response -- film and television production are quickly returning to near normal conditions. With the resulting surge of business, the studio quickly outgrew its staff capacity at its current location. RSP took over the building next to its main studio and proceeded to renovate it in a few short months.

The new 480sq m (5167sq ft) space, which was acquired to house additional staff, includes a cinema-style screening room, sound proofed meeting and review facilities, and a workspace for up to 80 artists. With commitments from multiple international film productions and streaming series, the expedient renovation completion was especially timely. It expects its team to soon top 225 out of its Adelaide studio.

Aside from the successful COVID-19 response, international production and post-production work are also being drawn to the country by generous government incentives, which were expanded in 2020. Australia’s PDV offset currently provides a 30 per cent rebate for post, digital and visual effects production (PDV), and is enhanced by an additional 10% incentive on South Australian PDV work. All these factors, combined with a favorable exchange rate, have made Australia an attractive destination for the industry.

“Life is relatively normal here and that has enhanced Australia’s standing as a premium destination for filmmakers,” commented RSP managing director Tony Clark. “We are seeing an incredible uptick in filming activity, accompanied by increased demand for visual effects. With great projects booked for the year ahead, we are adding capacity and talent, while ensuring we adhere to safety protocols.”

The studio’s new space is designed to allow artists and others to work productively in a socially distanced environment. The expansion includes the very latest LG air conditioner and increased fresh air circulation to maintain a healthy workplace. While the lighting has been designed for zero glare and with hot spot reduction to reduce eye fatigue and improve clarity for artists.

When the pandemic first appeared, the company made modifications to its main production studio to facilitate social distancing. It also upgraded its infrastructure to allow artists to work remotely when necessary and in compliance with industry-mandated security guidelines. As a result, the studio experienced only minor disruption during the initial lockdown. Since then, it has delivered several large-scale projects, including more than 500 visual effects shots for the New Line Cinema feature, Mortal Kombat, which will be released on HBO Max and in cinemas in April.

“We are typically involved in productions based in America, the UK and New Zealand, so working remotely across multiple time zones is nothing new for us,” noted RSP head of business development Jennie Zeiher. “Our long-term forecasting indicates a huge rebound in production as countries reopen and people return to theatres. We are excited about the future and ready to take advantage of new opportunities.”

RSP can bring in new junior talent through the visual effects training program it runs in partnership with the University of South Australia. Earlier this year, it hired five young artists who had just completed its Graduate Certificate courses.

“Our educational program has become an incredibly valuable asset in developing production-ready talent,” added Clark. “Artists who’ve gone through the program in past years are now working their way up the ranks.”

Although Australia’s rapid recovery from the pandemic is helping to fuel the current spike in production, Clark expects RSP’s fortunes to continue rising long after the crisis has passed.

“RSP has an excellent reputation,” he says. “We continue to provide excellent service and exceptional work. Our recent experience has only underscored those basic values.”

Source: Rising Sun Pictures