Visual effects studio FuseFX is moving forward with plans to expand into Atlanta, opening an office in Buckhead’s TechRise building adjacent to Atlanta Tech Village later this year. This will be the VFX firm’s third office in the U.S. and seventh overall.
The studio first announced its expansion to Atlanta in February along with the head of the Atlanta office, Brad Kalinoski, but just recently filed plans with the City of Atlanta to buildout the space. Kalinoski has worked in the VFX world for 21 years, receiving BAFTA and VES nominations for his work on "Black Swan."
While FuseFX has done VFX work in Atlanta before, Kalinoski says operating from an Atlanta office opens up more possibilities for the work they do with local supervisors and artists. "I think one thing that really helps with us being located here in Atlanta is that we can work right with the client on set," Kalinoski said.
Moving to Atlanta also allows local productions to qualify for the 30% income tax credit from the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which has played a large role in the Atlanta film industry's growth over the past decade. From 2007 to 2017, the Atlanta film industry grew by $2.1 billion in direct spending.
Executive Producer of Global Operations Dan Rucinski says that the growing film industry is another factor they considered when moving to Atlanta. "With more and more stuff shooting in Atlanta, having a base there, having Brad and a team of supervisors who can go on set, I think this is really going to help us service the market a lot better than we could solely from L.A. or New York," he said.
Mostly mirroring the other FuseFX offices in design, the 4,000-square-foot office space will be ready to operate in August, though Kalinoski said the team won’t move in until they feel safe to do so. As a result of the pandemic, the team is also figuring out what being on-set will look like. “I think they’re not even sure what we’re going to do as far as production shooting wise, you know, so they’re still working that out,” Kalinoski said.
In the meantime, VFX production can take place remotely. “As long as you have the footage to work on, it’s business as usual for us,” Rucinski said. In opening a new office during the coronavirus where much of their work has been remote, Rucinski says that FuseFX has become more streamlined in future expansions.
“The thing that [the coronavirus] will do for us in the future is allow us to expand very quickly, without the constraints of needing to rent more space or things like that,” he said. “If we have a large project that comes in, and we need to hire 25 people, we can do that in an instant and then set up an office for them and get people working from home.”
FuseFX acquired Folks VFX earlier this year, in April. With this acquisition, they added Montreal, Bogota, and Toronto to their existing locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. The FuseFX team also has high hopes for the Atlanta office when it comes to expansion. “We have every intention of outgrowing that space as soon as we can,” Rucinski said.
“The number of productions in Georgia keeps growing,” Rucinski said. “It feels like it’s here to stay, and we want to be a part of it.
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