I doubt the LA Times will want to report this but Variety reports Rising Sun Pictures will be opening shop in Los Angeles:
It’s a new dawn in Los Angeles for Rising Sun Pictures.The Oz-based visual effects house has tapped Marc Sadeghi, a former key executive at the Orphanage, as exec VP and head of business development and marketing.
Sadeghi will be based in Los Angeles, where he will be Rising Sun’s first permanent presence in Hollywood.
To the chagrin of some, it seems that Rising Sun Pictures didn’t get the memo: VFX is supposed to die a blood curdling death in California and go to China and India. I’m sorry to report we are still alive and kicking. It’ll all go to another country at some point right?
But seriously my analysis is that I’m not surprised by the move if you consider that the Australian dollar is at a record high making it more expensive for US producers to do work there. Even with Australian subsidies, the Variety article reports:
Even with tax incentives driving work to Australia, company execs told Variety last year that they were eyeing expansion to stay competitive.
However, as I posted on my blog last November, even with film subsidies, runaway production was running away from Austrailia:
When sequels of The Matrix had Sydneysiders tripping over Keanu Reeves in restaurants and coffee shops, the dollar was roughly US53¢. As it hovers around $US1, filming is now twice as expensive for US producers.
I’d also point out that I’ve seen VFX job postings and re-postings by Rising Sun Pictures that have gone unfilled for over 3 months. It’s a bit hard to convince a VFX artist to make the move all the way to South Australia unless you are a high caliber VFX shop like Weta or Double Negative.
But if you take a step back, it’s pretty remarkable when you consider that every other VFX market depends on subsidies and while California has been bruised, it still manages to find a way. Perhaps talent and quality are as important as price?