A new state-of-the-art “Hollywood grade” soundstage and virtual production studio primarily funded by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) of non-profit video game and cinema will be operational in Canberra early in the year. ‘next year.
The virtual production soundstage will be 24 meters in diameter, 6 meters high and will feature a “giant curved green screen” described by IEA CEO John De Margheriti as “what you will see in a rock concert n ‘roll “.
The commercial-grade studio will allow filmmakers to create “any backdrop imaginable” via the Unreal game engine.
“This will bring cutting-edge film and video game technology to Canberra,” said De Margheriti.
The $ 10 million project will receive $ 839,400 in funding from the ACT government.
Screen Canberra CEO Monica Penders said the infrastructure will allow ACT to compete nationally with “much-needed studio space.”
“It’s a simple equation, the whole studio space and a location incentive means we are now competitive in the Australian screen landscape,” she said.
The soundstage and virtual production studio will be housed in a temporary location until December 2024, when the necessary renovations will have been carried out at AIE’s Watson site to accommodate the infrastructure.
The interim site will be announced later this year, with Mr De Margheriti hype the site will be “news on the front page” when it goes public.
“It will be political, it will be the headlines in Canberra, people will be shocked,” he said.
“It will be somewhere in town … even the chief minister doesn’t know, they’re all asking, and we can’t tell them.”
The equipment in the virtual production studio is similar to what was used on Thor God of Thunder and at Disney Mandalorian TV shows.
ACT Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said the investment in this facility will increase career opportunities and promote Canberra as a destination for screens.
“I’m excited to see how this investment increases our screen production capacity and nurtures our local talent so that we can produce incredible movies and TV shows right here in Canberra,” she said.
Studio iinfrastructure is part of the “big vision”
Describing this soundstage as “a piece of the puzzle”, this infrastructure is an early part of Mr. De Margheriti’s grand vision to establish a “$ 200 million” development in Canberra; described in the IEA campus master plan project.
By 2040, the vision is to have multiple sound stages and water reservoirs on a vibrant, vibrant and modern college campus in Watson, with housing and a thriving movie and game industry in Canberra.
In August 2020, the IEA and the ACT government reached an agreement on the terms of a direct sale of part of the Canberra Technology Park site to Watson following extensive community consultation.
AIE was established over 20 years ago as a community-based, non-profit organization focused on education in games, films and visual effects.
Widely recognized as a pioneer in the Australian video game industry, De Margheriti said he created the IEA to create a legacy and give back to his hometown of Canberra.
“I was a student at Hawker College with dreams that found it difficult,” he said. “I don’t profit from it; I have already earned my money.
Mr De Margheriti said he created the IEA to invest his wealth in the growth of the film and video game industries in Canberra.
“A lot of people think that the IEA is a for-profit entity… we run it, but its purpose is not to make us a lot of money, it is to donate money to causes we believe. “
Ultimately, he wants to build a strong film and gaming industry in Canberra that employs 50-100 full-time people by educating the next generation and putting in place the facilities and infrastructure to be used for future productions.
“Photography, producers, gaffers, handles… we want enough infrastructure that they don’t have to import talent when a project comes to Canberra,” he said.
“We’re trying to train the next generation of filmmakers who can work in a Hollywood studio environment. “
Having already invested in six locally produced films including Blue world order, Me and my friends against the zombie apocalysis, and The FuriesMr. De Margheriti’s plan is to continue producing local films using the new facilities as they go live, while making them available to the industry at large.
“This production facility is commercial grade and will be used for major feature films that the IEA will produce and finance,” he said.
“We’re going to build and stage and use it and then people could come; Screen Canberra’s job is to catch them.
The IEA is organizing a virtual open house tomorrow, Sunday August 15; Register here.
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