Rising Sun Pictures’ Managing Director Tony Clark has been presented the 2018 National Pearcey Entrepreneur Award Medal at the ACS Digital Disruptors Awards Gala Dinner held in Melbourne last night (Thursday 1st November).
The national award recognises a recipient from amongst the state Pearcey winners for inspiring leadership, scale, impact, innovation and acclaim on the world stage. The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP, Victorian Minister for Trade & Investment, Innovation & the Digital Economy, Small Business, presented this year’s award to South Australian winner Tony Clark.
Commenting on Mr Clark’s win, the Pearcey Foundation’s SA Chair Susan Andrews said, “Tony Clark is an outstanding founder entrepreneur who over the past 20 plus years has taken big commercial risks, contributed to several important global innovations and continued to passionately grow the computer graphics and filmmaking industry in Australia and South Australia - all with outstanding humility, a sense of fairness and commitment to giving back to the community.”
Mr Clark is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, co-founder of several companies including South Australian business Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), and a great proponent of Australian participation in the world's movie and television industry.
Accepting the award, Mr Clark called entrepreneurship "a long game".
“When Rising Sun Pictures started in 1995 the Internet was new. There was no Google, no Facebook," he said. "As a group of young people in our late 20s, Wayne Lewis, Gail Fuller and I, had a vision that computer graphics would be huge and its use in filmmaking would be huge. And that somehow, we were going to do that from South Australia.”
Rising Sun Pictures creates incredible visual effects for Hollywood Blockbusters, and employs 180 people. This has contributed in excess of $220m to the State economy, hitting nearly $23m in the last financial year.
“Along the way we've spun out pieces of technology into new companies and they've become successful. Most of the world's makers of big movies, including Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, use our technology. I'm lucky to have participated in a company that has advanced the way the world creates movies."
The company has survived three economic cycles of boom and bust, going to the edge of sustainability.
“Probably the greatest fear is what happens when you fail. If I have one thing to call out, it would be that we recognise our entrepreneurial talent here, hold it up and work to support it and enable it to do more.
“We have, over the last couple of years, seen many examples where we as a State have looked outside for validation. We've spent enormous amounts of public money bringing in renewable energy companies when we have renewable companies here. We've spent enormous amounts of money importing IT security companies when we have great companies and great talent here.
“The thing about South Australian entrepreneurs is that they choose to be here - they are here because they love this place; and we at Rising Sun Pictures love this place.
“While we are funding our business out of cash flow and a small capital raising, in the leadup to the last state election an international competitor received a $6 million free kick to come and compete in our backyard. I don't think that is something we need to aspire to as a State.
“At a really fundamental level we need to support our entrepreneurs and insist that our government helps to build local businesses that are here because they love and are committed to this place, not because they are coming for subsidies."