Sony Imageworks sets up base in New Mexico


MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Imageworks and Albuquerque Studios have signed a deal that will house new Imageworks facilities in a build-to-spec 100,000-square-foot facility on the studio’s campus at the Mesa del Sol development in Albuquerque.

Sony Pictures is a digital production studio dedicated to the art of visual effects production and character animation, says a release. The company most recently received acclaim for its work on Spider-Man 3 and has also completed work on Sony Pictures Animation’s latest feature, Surf’s Up, due in theaters this summer.

For Sony Pictures Imageworks, the creation of a base in New Mexico provides the company with a number of great opportunities, according to Imageworks President Tim Sarnoff. “New Mexico offers a combination of quality of life plus economic advantages that will help us as a company to manage both our cost and expand our capacity.” Among the “economic advantages” is New Mexico’s 25 per cent tax rebate on production costs for film and TV.

The tax incentive’s impact on the industry in the state was a key factor in Imageworks’ decision according to Sarnoff. “We have the potential to grow our business in the region while, at the same time, maintain strong ties with filmmakers as the amount of physical production continues to increase.”

The deal with Imageworks is the latest announced by Albuquerque Studios, who have recently established agreements with a number of other companies including Axium Payroll Services, Clairmont Camera, NES Equipment Rentals, Quixote Expendables, Starwaggons, Studio Concierge (operated by Southwest Suites) and New Mexico Lighting and Grip a subsidiary of NBC Universal.

In addition, Imageworks has chosen University of New Mexico to become a member of the Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence program (IPAX). IPAX, designed by Imageworks, is intended to build stronger relationships with established academic programs and to nurture and grow future generations of digital talent.

IPAX is the first program of its kind, focusing on IPAX member faculty development and exposure to real-time production issues and development of standards for training future digital artists. The University of New Mexico joins a roster of member schools that includes Animation Mentor, Carnegie Mellon, DePaul University Computer Graphics and Animation Program, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Otis College of Art + Design, Pratt Institute School of Art & Design, Ringling School of Art and Design, Stanford University, and University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, says a release.