Visual effects work on “Furiosa,” George Miller’s highly anticipated “Mad Max prequel, is to be led from a new facility being built by DNEG in Sydney, Australia.
DNEG Sydney, which will be located in Pyrmont, within Sydney’s Tech Central district, is slated to open in early 2023 and will have a total capacity of up to 500 seats.
It is scheduled to be a full service VFX studio, taking the lead on complex VFX projects for film and episodic projects. It will also be home to a new studio for DNEG Animation, the animation studio behind Kid Cudi’s stylized, animated love story “Entergalactic” for Netflix.
Academy Award and BAFTA-winning VFX supervisor, and Australian national, Andrew Jackson, has relocated from DNEG London to head up the studio’s work as creative director for Sydney. Jackson’s credits include VFX supervisor for Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and Nolan’s forthcoming “Oppenheimer.” He also previously worked on “Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Among DNEG’s first local hires is VFX supervisor Dan Bethell, who joins from Rising Sun Pictures. Bethell will serve as DNEG VFX supervisor on “Furiosa.” His credits also include “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Extraction,” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
DNEG’s expansion to Sydney is supported by the state government of New South Wales and its A$250 million ($168 million) Jobs Plus Program. The program provides eligible companies payroll tax relief, support for infrastructure, and subsidized training programs, and free or subsidized government spaces and accommodation.
Visual effects and post-production are proving to be a major export industry for Australia. Data published last week showed that spending on post, digital and visual effects work by foreign titles in Australia hit a new record of A$335 million ($226 million) in 2021-22.
“Furiosa” is an original, standalone action adventure that is expected to reveal the origins of the characters from “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It is being produced in Australia by Miller and producer Doug Mitchell and stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the titular role alongside Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke. The film is a Warner Bros. Pictures production in association with Village Roadshow Pictures (U.S.) and is expected to premiere in 2024.
“The opportunity to collaborate and partner with filmmakers of the caliber of George Miller, whose work I love and respect, is the driving force behind everything that we do,” said DNEG CEO and chairman Namit Malhotra in a prepared statement “Extending our filmmaker-focused approach to a fourth continent and building a substantial and sustainable presence in Sydney that allows us to engage with Australia’s talented and experienced creative leaders, artists, technologists and production crews.”
“Tech Central is Australia’s innovation hub and DNEG will be the next heavyweight to join a growing list of companies setting up shop in Sydney. The new site will include a fully functioning content services studio focusing on visual effects, animation, virtual production and gaming,” said Dominic Perrottet, Premier of NSW.
The state’s Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said the support will help create 472 direct and 554 indirect jobs by 2024.
The federal government’s Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the Department of Home Affairs also assisted DNEG with extensive advice and introductions, as part of the Global Australia Taskforce.