A favorable climate, expanding support services and government incentives are bringing more international film and television productions to South Australia, and with them come lots of industry job opportunities. Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) and the University of South Australia (UniSA) are working together to ensure more of those jobs to go to home-grown talent.
The award-winning visual effects studio (whose credits include last year’s Academy Award Best Picture nominee Ford v Ferrari and the current Netflix hit The Boys) and the renowned teaching and research University jointly operate a successful visual effects training program. Dozens of aspiring artists who’ve come through the program have found career-track employment at visual effects studios in Australia and abroad, including 23 currently on staff at RSP.
The training program is designed to help build a pool of local talent by providing students with skills needed to move directly from the classroom to employment in the industry. Third-year students studying visual effects through UniSA’s Bachelor of Film and Television program complete part of their coursework via classes taught at RSP’s studio in Adelaide. Spanning compositing, lighting, FX and other subjects, the classes are structured to mirror a professional production environment and are taught by veteran artists from RSP’s staff.
In addition to undergraduate instruction via the Bachelor of Film and Television, the program includes Graduate Certificate training, delivering higher-level skills to post-graduate students. It also offers a variety of short courses for working artists and others interested in learning new skills.
The success of the program has prompted RSP and UniSA to look for ways to expand and build on it. RSP Managing Director Tony Clark looks to add coursework for aspiring visual effects producers as workers with those skills are sorely needed and hard to find. For its part, UniSA recently formed the Film Concept Lab (FCL), a workshop program for students interested in working in film and television production. Students from FCL and RSP are currently working with the independent production company We Made a Thing Studios to produce a short film that will premiere at this year’s Adelaide Film Festival.