Miller eyes Aussie digital

Joins with Omnilab for prod'n firm

George Miller's Australian production shingle, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, has formed a partnership with Australian production and media services outfit the Omnilab Media Group to launch a digital production company.

Announcing the deal Friday, Miller said he was looking for a partner with which to launch an Australian-owned and -based digital film company since local filmmakers — who honed their skills working on "Happy Feet" — left the country for lack of high-end work here.

"Kennedy Miller Mitchell's partnership with Omnilab Media and (Omnilab owners) the Mapp family is our attempt to stop history repeating itself and reverse this Australian 'brain drain,' " Miller said. "Omnilab Media have built a very successful business in an uncertain climate, and this, together with KMM's aspiration to achieve the highest level of storytelling, is a great match."

Added Omnilab Media managing director Chris Mapp: "With a consistent stream of exceptional creative projects coming into this new company, we have made firm investments and commitments to grow and expand the team."

Miller's partner Doug Mitchell said the company has been "inspired by the New Zealanders who are leading the way with their comprehensive filmmaking on such works as 'Lord of the Rings' and 'King Kong,' and who are now attracting the world's top filmmakers."

The yet-to-be named company will take advantage of Omnilab Media's management, resources and infrastructure with KMM's creative filmmaking expertise, Miller said.

It also will be able to take advantage of the recently introduced 40% producer rebate to help fund its projects.

While there was no confirmation, it's believed the company could kick off with production of Warner Bros.' "Justice League of American," which Miller is set to produce and direct in 2008.

A spokesman for Omnilab, which owns 15 production, postproduction and facilities businesses in Sydney and Melbourne, said more details of the company and its projects will be announced.