Rising Sun Pictures in Adelaide creates special effects for biggest film directors, franchises

Rising Sun Pictures' managing director Tony Clark (right), the Pulteney Street, Adelaide, studio, and an example of its film special effects in action on the big screen.
Images courtesy Brand South Australia

Rising Sun Pictures, based in a Pulteney Street, Adelaide, studio, has its special visual effects featured in the films of some of the world’s top directors, including Steven Spielberg and James Cameron,and for blockbuster film series such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and X-Men.

Its film portfolio also includes Peter Rabbit, The Great Gatsby, Thor: Ragnarok, Gravity and Tomb Raider. Completing its first Chinese film project in 2018, Rising Sun added Captain Marvel to its superhero firm work.

Rising Sun Pictures is named after an Adelaide suburban hotel where Emmy Award-winning cinema photographer Tony Clark (now managing director), Wayne Lewis and Gail Fuller, all in their later 20s in pre-Google/Facebook 1995, had a vision that South Australia could be their base for contributing to the coming huge impact of computer graphics in film making.

Rising Sun Pictures, competing with special-effects houses world, has brought in more than $220 million to the South Australian economy and employs more than 200. Its growth has been boosted by streaming services such as Netflix and Disney. Rising Sun sees more potential in combining its Adelaide lifestyle advantages with embracing emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality.

The company is also bolstering the education program it runs with the University of South Australia by added an undergraduate courses in visual effects skills and expanded its graduate certificate program.

Rising Sun Pictures is one of more than 500 businesses who registered for the City of Adelaide's revolutionary Ten Gigabit Adelaide infrastructure that gives vastly improved internet connectivity, cybersecurity and synchronised upload and download speeds.

 • Information from Brand South Australia.

Other related ADELAIDEAZ articles

Gil Brealey the spark for
South Australian Film
 Corporation to kickstart
 Australian film industry

Gil Brealey, television and film director, producer and writer, was the daring and imaginative hands-on force as founding director and chairman of the South Australian Film Corporation,set up by Don Dunstan’s state government in 1972. The corporation played the leading role in reviving Australian film making. Prompting other states to set up similar bodies, it had critical and commercial success with its earliest films such as Sunday Too Far Away (1975: Australian Film Institute best film, best lead actor and best supporting actor awards), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Storm Boy (1976) and Breaker Morant (1980). Shine (1996) was a critical and commercial success. Geoffrey Rush won the American Academy award for best actor. The director, Flinders University graduate Scott Hicks, was nominated as best director for the Academy, Golden Globe and AFI awards. The corporation also help launch the careers of actors and film makers such as Peter Weir, Jack Thompson, Rolf de Heer, Mario Andreacchio, Bryan Brown, and Bruce Beresford. In the 1980s, the corporation moved into television production at a disused factory in Hendon, a northwestern Adelaide suburb. The Battlers mini series in 1994 was the corporation’s last as producer. It shifted to supporting South Australian film and television with funds and making available studios. This was its role in the Nine television network’s McLeod’s Daughters, filmed in rural South Australia. The corporation's new home from 2008 was the Adelaide Studios at eastern suburbs Glenside. 


'A Sentimental Bloke' (1919) by C.J. Dennis a big hit for Adelaide film firm Southern Cross

The silent film version of South Australian Auburn-born poet C.J. Dennis’s The Sentimental Bloke, financed by a South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film company, had its premiere in 1919 in Adelaide. Raymond Longford, who had signed a lucrative film deal with Dennis in 1917, directed the film for Southern Cross Feature Film, headed by Adelaide businessman David Gordon. Starring director Raymond Longford’s partner Lotte Lyell as Doreen and Arthur Tauchert as Bill, The Sentimental Bloke was a big hit and widely screened and praised in the UK and USA. A “talkie” version was made in the 1930s. This was followed by another C.J. Dennis creation, The moods of Ginger Mick. The Southern Cross Feature Film Company was at its peak in 1920 when it paid a dividend of a shilling a share.In 1925, major shareholder and entrepreneur E.J. Carroll suggested that Southern Cross Feature Film make an adaption of Dennis’s The Rose of Spadgers. But the other directors decided against it, with the company losing money by not being able to recoup film-making costs in the UK and USA. Southern Cross shut down soon afterwards. All copies of the film version of The Moods of Ginger Mick have been lost but a copy of The Sentimental Bloke in excellent condition was found in the USA. It had been catalogued incorrectly as “The Sentimental Blonde”.

Indigenous Land Corp. supporting groups in business, jobs, culture, environment ventures

The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) has helped South Australian groups since 2005 to manage land for business, training, employment, cultural and/or environmental benefits. The Indigenous Land Corporation, an independent Australian Government statutory authority with an Adelaide head office, buys and grants land to Indigenous groups as corporations. The ILC has bought 27 properties in South Australia with a total area of more than 830,000 hectares. Examples of the projects include • White Avenue, Mount Gambier: At a 10ha property, Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation provided pre-employment education and training. Used for meetings and social gatherings, the centre has educational programs, a seed-growing operation and community garden. • Teeluk is a 144ha property on the edge of the Coorong. The project gave the Indigenous landowners a base to coordinate sustainable land management. The ILC funded a shed and rainwater tanks to support revegetation. • Lake Acraman, Gawler Ranges: Lake Acraman is an 18,000ha meteorite crater and dry salt lake with cultural and environmental heritage values, 220 kilometres north-west of Port Augusta. In 2011, Gawler Ranges Aboriginal Corporation leased the lake as part of a native title agreement with the state government. The ILC funded SA Native Title Services to plan long-term management of the cultural and environmental values of the lake and shoreline.

Anthony LaPaglia: from Adelaide soccer goalie to netting Tony and Emmy awards in the USA

Anthony LaPaglia’ made a brave Hollywood gambit in the 1980s. Educated at Rostevor College and Norwood High in the 1970s, he became a soccer goalkeeper for Adelaide City and West Adelaide and was working as a shoe salesman for Florsheim. Rejected by NIDA in Sydney, LaPaglia enrolled in an acting course at South Australian Castings Agency but left half way through for Los Angeles. LaPaglia's earliest screen credit was a 1985 TV episode of Steven Spielbergs Amazing Stories. His first film was Cold steel (1987) followed by the title role in the telemovie Nitti: The Enforcer. He starred in the bio pic 29th Street, with roles in the vampire/Mafia story Innocent blood (1992), comedy thriller So I married an axe murderer (1993), legal thriller The client (1994), and comedy Empire Records. During 1997–98, LaPaglia appeared on Broadway in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, winning a Tony Award. Before the play opened, LaPaglia met creator David Chase to discuss the role of Tony Soprano in The Sopranos. Spike Lee cast LaPaglia as a New York police detective in Summer of Sam (1999). During 2000–04, LaPaglia appeared in the sitcom Frasier, winning an Emmy Award for outstanding guest actor. LaPaglia made his Australian debut with Hugo Weaving in The Custodian (1993), followed by the romantic comedy Paperback Romance (1994). He also returned for Australian films such as Looking for Alibrandi (2000), Lantana (2001), Happy Feet (2006) and Balibo (2009). In 2002, LaPaglia co-starred opposite Sigourney Weaver in The Guys, about New York firemen who died in the World Trade Center. In 2015, LaPaglia returned to Adelaide to star in A Month of Sundays. 

Anthony Maras's major work 'Hotel Mumbai' builds on his previous short film successes

Hotel Mumbai, directed and co-written by Adelaide’s Anthony Maras, was one of the biggest film productions to come out of South Australia, released in 2019 with a world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Hotel Mumbai delves into the story of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The thriller focuses on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Maras did copious research to produce the film. Hotel Mumbai was mostly shot at Adelaide Studios and partly funded by the Adelaide Film Festival where it had another premiere. English actor Dev Patel, known best for starring in Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, was a lead in Hotel Mumbai along with Adelaide's Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Anthony Maras’s earlier short film The Palace was a multi-award winner. It won best short film at other film festivals and awards ceremonies including the 2012 Beverly Hills Film Festival (also best director), 2011 Sydney Film Festival 2011, Melbourne International Film Festival (best Australian short film), 2012 Flickerfest International Festival of Short Films (best Australian short film), 2011 IF Awards (rising talent), 2012 Shorts Film Festival, 2012 Australian Film Festival and 2011 Adelaide Film Festival (audience award). It won best screenplay in a short film at the 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards. This marked Maras’s third AACTA Award, having won best short fiction film for his Spike Up. He was nominated for the same award for his first film Azadi. Maras was an associate producer on Last ride (2009), debut feature of Palme d'Or-winning director Glendyn Ivin and starring Hugo Weaving.  

MPs' sexual morality concerns as South Australia's first drive-in cinemas open from 1954

Sexual morality concerned some South Australian parliamentarians in 1954 when debating laws relating to the looming phenomenon of drive-in film theatres. Labor MP for Hindmarsh, Cyril Hutchens, feared that “we shall see females attending in green French bathers, with their hair dyed red, and accessories to match. We should take all possible action to preserve the morals of our young people.” A young Don Dunstan disagreed: “If people are going to resort to motor cars for the purposes of immorality they are not likely to purchase theatre tickets and drive in beside other vehicles to do what they might otherwise do on some lonely country road”. The debaters were anxious that each vehicle at the drive had “capacity for three persons” – that is, room for a chaperone. The Act did provide that anyone who acted offensively could be asked to leave the drive-in. Starting with the 44-year run by the Wallis Blueline at West Beach from 1954, South Australian drive-in theatres, with operators such as the Shandon at Seaton, Elizabeth and Port Pirie, made the features of their cafeteries a big lure. Drive-ins survived black and white television but colour television, the video recorder and indoor multiplex theatres took their toll – along with daylight saving that made start times too late for families.The Blueline closed in 1998, followed by the Valleyline at St Agnes in 2003, leaving the Wallis Mainline Drive-in at Gepps Cross as the only one in the metropolitan area. The Riverland at Barmera survived until 2008 and the Coober Pedy outback theatre was still operatied in 2019 by community volunteers.

Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback