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

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. 

Southern Cross film 'The Woman Suffers' (1918) , made in Adelaide, a feminist melodrama

Made in Adelaide and the first major production financed by South Australia’s Southern Cross Feature Film Company, The Woman Suffers (1918) was an important and controversial film in its time, and remains one of the most significant Australian silent features. Directed by Raymond Longford, it starred his partner Lottie Lyell and has been called Australia’s first feminist feature film. The film is a full-scale melodrama of town and country, with sumptuous settings and high fashions, entwined with a highly moral story on a familiar theme: ruination of a woman by a man. The film, in eight acts, includes many outrages – from the drunken wife-beater husband through to two young men who seduce and abandon women, causing one to suicide and the other to attempt an abortion. All the women in the film are sympathetically depicted. The Woman Suffers opened in March 1918 at the Theatre Royal, Adelaide, to good box office results and rave reviews. It opened in Sydney in August to good houses and ran for seven weeks but this came to an abrupt halt in October when the New South Wales chief secretary banned further screenings, without giving reasons. The Woman Suffers was popular in other states. Its success allowed Longford and Lyell to begin work on their next film, The Sentimental Bloke (1919), also for the Southern Cross Feature Film Company and based on the book by South Australian-born author C.J. Dennis. The Sentimental Bloke has been described as the crowning achievement of Longford and Lyell’s careers, and of all Australian silent films. 

Dean Semler's lens work on Kevin Costner's 'Dances with wolves' wins the Oscar in 1991

Dean Semler’s 1991 Oscar for best cinematography in Kevin Costner’s Dances with wolves crowned a colourful career in Australia and Hollywood for the Renmark-born cameraman. Semler entered film industry as a camera operator with Adelaide television station NWS9 and this led to work on documentary and educational films for Film Australia.  He was the cinematographer for A steam train passes (1974), Moving on (1974), Let the balloon go (1976), and A good thing going (1978). His first film was Stepping out in 1980 and he was praised for “stunning work” on Hoodwink (1981). Semler was also cinematographer for Mad Max 2 (1981) with his panoramic shots of the Australian Outback deserts attracting international attention. Semler also shot the follow-up The Road WarriorMad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The acclaimed Australian miniseries Bodyline (1984) and popular late 1980s popular films, such as Cocktail  (1988) and Young Guns (1988), also had Semler behind the lens. In 1990, Semler was hired for Dances with wolves,  leading to the Academy Award for best cinematography. Semler worked  on the comedy City slickers and Last action hero in the early 1990s before working with Kevin Costner on his Waterworld. In the 2000s, Semler’s talents were employed on a varied list of films, including comedies (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps 2000, Bruce Almighty 2003), action films (The Alamo 2004). In the mid-2000s, Semler did the football comedy The longest yard (2005) and Just my luck  (2006). In 2006, he worked with Mel Gibson again for Apocalypto.

Fleurieu festival gives short-film makers the chance to express variations on a theme

Budding filmmakers have the chance to showcase their creativity at the Fleurieu Film Festival (2015-19, with the next scheduled for 2021) while celebrating the premium food and wine of the peninsula south of Adelaide in February at a McLaren Vale winery. More than 100 submissions were received from Australia, France, the USA and Russia for the 2018 community festival, with Australian actor Australian actor Erik Thomson who lives on the peninsula, as its patron. A shortlist of 10 films is chosen a particular annual theme. The 2019 theme was: “Climate change – hot topic/kool films”. The City of Onkaparinga and Resilient South were partners with Fleurieu Film Festival on that theme. The 10 films shortlisted for the 2019 festival at S.C. Pannell Winery included one from Aldinga local and director, producer and writer Barry Mitchell. His film Legacy was also submitted to the Elements Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada, and Colorado Environmental Film Festival in Golden, Colorado. Other finalists were Birthplace, directed by Sil Van Der Woerd and Jorik Dozy (Netherlands); Climate Change and The Community, directed by Craig Cooper and Onkaparinga Council’s Studio 20 Youth Centre (South Australia); Harvest, by Brodie Winning (South Australia); Mea Culp, by Tom Parolin (South Australia); Semblance, by Stephanie Jaclyn (South Australia); The Devil’s Bureaucrat, by Gina Cameron (South Australia); Who’s A Fly Bird, by Bianca Tomchin and Mathew Harvey ( NSW); Ursula, by Rick Davies (South Australia); Wind Giants, by Nick Thompson. 

Mario Andreacchio led way from Adelaide to China and other global film co productions

Mario Andreacchio is an Adelaide independent outsider film maker who has blazed new ground in international links from the 1980s and into the 21st Century. Through his Norwood-based AMPCO (Australian Motion Picture Company) Films, he has directed feature films, TV specials, telemovies, children's miniseries and documentaries. After working with investors from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and Japan, Andreacchio threw himself into the first Australian co-production with China: the children’s film The dragon pearl in 2011. Australian actor Sam Neill played a lead role but Andreacchio impressed the Chinese by making a dragon the star of the film. Adapting to the Chinese ways of doing things, Andreacchio has joined other Chinese co productions including romantic comedy Tying the knot and action film Shimalaya. Born to Italian migrants in South Australia’s then-coal mining town of Leigh Creek, Andreacchio studied experimental physics then psychology before switching to film at Flinders University and ending at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Andreacchio ventured into featured films in the 1980s with Captain Johnno (1988) winning an International Emmy. Another successful children's film, Napoleon, the adventures of a golden retriever pup and parrot friend Birdo Lucci, was a venture with Japanese company Herald Ace. Sally Marshall is not an alien (1999), an Canadian-Australian co-production, had strong reviews and was the second highest grossing Australian film of the year. 

Aboriginal filmmakers supported by South Australian corporation strategy 2015-20

The South Australian Film Corporation’s first Aboriginal Screen Strategy (2015-20) supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers. The strategy was designed to grow and support the stories and creative voices of the Aboriginal screen sector and to develop skills and knowledge in filmmaking through production, mentoring and partnerships. The corporation set up Pirrku Kuu (The Story Room) at Adelaide Studios in Glenside as a hub for Aboriginal filmmakers’ work. The strategy was guided by corporation’s Lee-Ann Buckskin and then-chief executive Annabelle Sheehan. The film corporation’s Aboriginal advisory committee members for the strategy were • Erica Glynn (Arrente), director of TV’s Black Comedy, graduate of Australian Film Television and Radio School, whose short film My Bed, Your Bed was an international success and her documentaries include A Walk with Words with Romaine Morton and Ngangkari about traditional healers of the Central Desert region. • Major Sumner, an honoured Ngarrindjeri elder from the Coorong and Lower Lakes in South Australia. • Derik Lynch (Yankunytjatjara), who grew up in small town camp in Alice Springs. starred alongside of Trevor Jamieson in the theatre play Namatjira that toured England and Rotterdam; screen credits include Black Comedy and Deadline Gallipoli. • Natasha Wanganeen (Narungga), with film credits including Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), Black and White (2002), Australian Rules (2002) and, on television, Redfern Now (2013) and ABC’s The Secret River 2013).


Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback