Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic to Open Sydney Studio

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' will be its first feature project.
Courtesy of Disney
'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

Lucasfilm's visual effects division Industrial Light & Magic is expanding its footprint with a base at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney.

The opening is planned for later this year, hopefully in time for its artists to contribute work to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, according to Rob Bredow, executive creative director and head of ILM. Skywalker is slated for a Dec. 20 release.

Plans call for Luke Hetherington, who heads ILM's Singapore studio, to additionally serve as executive in charge of the Sydney base and split his time between Singapore and Australia. Bredow says he aims to have between 50-100 employees in Sydney by year's end, and continue to grow in 2020.

ILM is headquartered in San Francisco, and also maintains bases in Vancouver and London.

"Sydney is an ideal location for our fifth studio," says Bredow. "There is abundant artistic and technical talent in the region, which are both keys to ILM's culture of innovation." It also gives clients access to the Australian Federal PDV Offset and new NSW PDV rebate, which combined could represent as much as a 40 percent rebate, Bredow estimates.

In addition to Rise of Skywalker, productions in the works at ILM include Terminator: Dark Fate, Jungle Cruise and The Irishman. The 44-year-old studio has earned 15 Academy Awards for best VFX and 31 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition to feature films, it works on TV, immersive entertainment and themed attractions.