DNEG is to open a VFX and animation studio in Sydney, Australia, in coordination with the New South Wales Government.

The new studio, 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.

As part of the announcement, DNEG also confirmed that its new Sydney studio will lead the visual effects work for George Miller’s highly anticipated Mad Max prequel Furiosa.

“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. “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, marks another milestone in our mission to bring the very best VFX and animation services to filmmakers all over the world. My thanks to the producers for choosing DNEG as their partner on Furiosa, and to the NSW Government for their support and for extending such a warm welcome to our team.”

George Miller’s Furiosa is the much-anticipated return to the groundbreaking dystopian world he created more than 30 years ago with the iconic Mad Max films, this time with an original, standalone action adventure that will reveal the origins of the powerhouse characters from Mad Max: Fury Road. Furiosa 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 (US) and is expected to premiere in 2024.

“From my very first call with Namit, I have been amazed at how proactive, engaged and focused DNEG has been in ensuring that George and I have the visual effects team we need for this movie,” said Mitchell. “I am especially excited to collaborate with DNEG to create the visual effects for Furiosa in our home state of NSW, as we wrap what we believe is the biggest production ever filmed in the State. I’m looking forward to this and many future collaborations with Namit and his team.”

DNEG Sydney will be a full service VFX studio, leading on complex VFX projects for film and episodic projects, and will also be home to a new studio for DNEG Animation, the animation studio behind Kid Cudi’s beautifully stylized, animated love story Entergalactic for Netflix.

VFX supervisor and Australian national Andrew Jackson has relocated from DNEG London to head up the studio’s work as creative director for Sydney. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Jackson was Production VFX supervisor for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which earned him an Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Special Visual Effects. Prior to that, Jackson received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road. He has most recently completed work as Production VFX supervisor for Nolan’s forthcoming biopic Oppenheimer.

“DNEG is leading the charge when it comes to supporting some of the most creative and visionary directors in the industry, and together we are creating groundbreaking, innovative and inspiring VFX and animation work,” said Jackson. “I am thrilled to take up this position at the new DNEG Sydney studio, and to be back on home turf, working once again with George Miller following our work together on Fury Road. DNEG’s entrance into the Australian market will provide us with access to a new pool of talented individuals, including some of the most imaginative minds in the industry, and I am delighted to be working with the new crew that we are building to deliver some truly inspirational effects.”

One of DNEG’s first hires for the new studio is VFX supervisor Dan Bethell, who joins from Rising Sun Pictures. Bethell is serving as DNEG VFX supervisor on Furiosa, having previously received a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road. Bethell’s previous credits as VFX Supervisor include Thor: Love and Thunder, Mortal Kombat, Extraction, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

DNEG’s expansion to Sydney is supported by the Australian State Government of New South Wales (NSW) and its $250 million Jobs Plus Program. Delivered through Investment NSW, the program provides eligible companies with support to establish and expand their footprint in NSW, including payroll tax relief, support for infrastructure, and subsidised training programs, along with the provision of free or subsidised government spaces and accommodation.

“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,” commented Dominic Perrottet, Premier of NSW.

NSW Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said the support will help create 472 direct and 554 indirect jobs by 2024.

“The support via infrastructure rebates and payroll tax relief will help DNEG to develop, foster and grow our pipeline of skilled workers in the digital effects industry by creating new opportunities and training pathways,” Mr. Henskens said.

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and Department of Home Affairs assisted DNEG with extensive advice and introductions, including to Australian industry and government, as part of Global Australia Taskforce.

DNEG would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land where they get to live, create and tell their stories, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. They pay respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. They recognise the strength and enduring connection to the land and culture. It is and always will be Aboriginal land.

Photo caption:(l-r) Doug Mitchell (producer Furiosa), Dominic Perrottet (Premier of New South Wales), George Miller (director/producer Furiosa) on the New South Wales set of Furiosa, an original stand-alone action adventure that will reveal the origins of the powerhouse characters from the multiple Oscar-winning Mad Max: Fury Road. Visual effects work for the film will be led by the new Sydney studio of VFX and animation company DNEG.

Pippa Considine

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