The City of Sydney hopes a new purpose-built space will lure creatives, including independent filmmakers, to work in the city post-lockdown, announcing the establishment of a 2,000 square metre facility in the CBD.
Spread over five stories, the City of Sydney Creative Studios will be able to accommodate dancers, musicians, digital creatives, visual artists, and film and theatre makers when it opens next year.
Features include two double-height rehearsal spaces; five soundproof recording and rehearsal studies; production and editing suites; wet-dry creative studios; and artist-in-residence apartment with an attached creative studio; administration and meeting spaces; dressing rooms and storerooms; and a cafe in the lobby.
As part of a voluntary planning agreement between the City of Sydney and developer Greenland Australia, the facility will be operated by cultural refitters Brand X on a three-year term, with local government authority signing a 99-year lease for the site at a rate of $1 p.a.
Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully told IF the place of the production and editing suites among a “smorgasbord of creative options” meant they were geared more towards the independent film sector.
“We’re trying to accommodate as many different kinds of creative practice as we can in the venue,” she said.
“It would perhaps lend itself more to small crews and small teams, or independent solo filmmakers, as well as on-screen media artists.”
The announcement comes after the City of Sydney partnered with Western Sydney University on a cultural infrastructure study that was published in May last year.
Entitled Making Space for Cultural Spaces, the report stated the “rapid urban growth” of Sydney had served to reduced the supply of small and local cultural spaces, while also increasing the costs for existing facilities – pricing out many of those who use them.
It’s a situation writer-director Heath Davis is all too familiar with.
Despite a career spanning nearly two decades, the Sydney filmmaker is yet to stage a production in his hometown due to the costs associated.
Davis told IF the climate for independent filmmaking was more difficult than ever and it seemed as though there was “less and less support”.
“If something like this is truly about helping indie artists then I’m all for it,” he said.
“However, studio space is in short supply at the moment and it ain’t cheap.
“I think it would need to have a financial incentive in some capacity as COVID-19 has made it that much tougher financially on a production.”
The City of Sydney Creative Studios at 119 Bathurst Street is expected to open in early 2022.
Interested artists, creative practitioners, and organisations can register their interest here.