(Australian Associated Press)
The NSW Premier was surrounded by Storm Troopers but the state wasn’t under attack – with Gladys Berejiklian instead claiming victory in the battle to become Australia’s “movies capital”.
Disney-owned visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic, founded by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas, has chosen Sydney as the location for its latest studio, the government announced on Monday.
The company, which is responsible for the visual effects of films like Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Avengers films, will create more than 500 local jobs when it opens the Australian base.
“This isn’t just about the 500 jobs but it means Sydney cements itself as really the movies capital of Australia,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
“The jobs here in digital and visual effects post-production will make us a leading light around the world.”
Recruitment will begin immediately for the new studio to help complete the next film in the Star Wars franchise.
Ms Berejiklian said the permanent new studio would teach “invaluable” skills to the people of NSW – with ILM to establish “jedi academy training programs” to train hundreds of people in post-production.
The state government lured ILM to Sydney with an added 10 per cent rebate to post, digital and visual effects firms investing more than $500,000 in NSW, on top of the federal government’s 30 per cent rebate.
Executive creative director and head of ILM Rob Bredow said the incentive had been the “deciding factor” in bringing the studio to Sydney.
However, he said the company also had many employees who grew up in Australia but were forced to leave for careers in the industry.
“Our current artists, some of them really want to return home to do the same work here,” he said.
Mr Bredow and the premier were joined by Storm Troopers and a remote-controlled R2-D2 when they made the announcement.