By Zona Marie Tan

UK visual effects and animation company Sparkle Media has expressed its intention to open a Sydney office by 2009. The move comes after working on a project with Cate Blanchett on the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) short multimedia performance, ‘Minutes of a Separation’.

The performance was a 15-minute presentation exclusively produced for the IWC Schaffhausen Gala in Geneva by the STC featuring Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes and Australian aerialists, Legs On The Wall. ‘Minutes of a Separation’ director Nigel Jamieson invited Liverpool-based Sparkle Media to assist in creating the video footage for that production.

Sparkle got further involved when STC decided to make a film version of the performance. So the firm flew its entire staff of 3D animators and compositors to Sydney to shoot the title sequence for the film version.

The three-week production in Sydney found company director Glenn Maguire rekindling his love for Australia, which prompted the move.

“I used to live in Sydney for about three years and really missed the place. I also think Sydney is such a versatile place to film and work in. Most current UK TV commercials, especially car TVCs are all filmed in Sydney. But captured as if it were shot in London or even New York, giving an overall cost effectiveness.”

Maguire also said that the Australian industry isn’t as creatively stifling as in the UK.

“There are a lot more top clients [in Australia] who are willing to experiment more with the medium, so we can add our quirky UK style heavily based on traditional animation and magazine design,” said the 34 year-old, who is also a senior designer and Sparkle’s co-founder.

“So hopefully we’ll bring something new to Australia in the same way it exports wonderful Australian films that just have a wonderful quality about them and are so ahead of the competition in the UK.”

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