Fika Entertainment is revolutionising storytelling through virtual production, real-time animation and real-time visual effects. Their Burleigh studio has a crew of 35 employees…and is growing.
We ask Kris Maric, CEO and Executive Producer about engaging with the City and being a recipient of the Screen Attraction Program.
What does Fika Entertainment specialise in?
Fika Entertainment is a virtual production services, solutions and facilities company that delivers accessible, fast and cost-effective production of animation, visual effects (VFX) content. We also deliver additional experiences of this content through brand associated live events, themed activations, mobile apps, games, e-books, short-form content, and immersive media.
Why the Gold Coast?
There are so many fabulous reasons why the Gold Coast is a premium location to work, rest and play. There are great incentives and business support via State and Local Government for creative industries, innovation and tech industry businesses. When Fika Entertainment was initially established, a market scan was done to ascertain where would be a great spot for the company to settle roots into. Queensland and the Gold Coast had come up as one of the primary contenders on this front, plus the Gold Coast appeals to top notch talent in terms of recruitment. Our staff (current and future prospects) are interested in living somewhere that supports a great work/life balance where they can enjoy the spoils of what the Gold Coast has to offer and (if applicable) raise their families here.
How has Fika Entertainment benefited from engaging with the City of Gold Coast?
We have really enjoyed the support and guidance we have received from the City of Gold Coast. It’s clear that Council has great people who understand the needs of businesses in the creative, tech and innovation space. Having that support allows us as a company to respond quicker to market opportunities for our business and thus expand our hires, infrastructure and resources. We are always looking to hire and love to know who is out there in the Gold Coast region, who is emerging or experienced talent in the creative, tech, animation, VFX and project management space – or has transferable skills and an appetite to embrace innovation. We hire Gold Coast first as a priority, then Queensland and then Australia. Our whole core staff are Australian based – which is amazing given that a lot of the work we do has a tendency to be done offshore. However, thanks to our core in-house technology, the Alchemy Pipeline™, we are able to employ on-shore and locally, maintain great work conditions and also still be globally competitive.
What is the catalyst for Fika Entertainment expanding?
Being able to secure larger scale overseas clientele that are looking for high quality, fast and price competitive content experiences. Our expansion is as a result of investing in the marketing, development of relationships and sales aspects of our business in a qualified way. COVID-19 also created more interest and appetite for potential clients to embrace Virtual Production driven services which often in the past has been viewed too new and disruptive.
What are some key trends in the industry?
We’ve noticed that there is a shift in creators and IP owners from being less project focused and being more 360 degree IP/Content focused For example, there will be a flagship content piece (i.e. like an animation series) created off the back of a central IP (e.g. like Snow White, Bluey, My Little Pony) but the content creators will now look to leverage Virtual Production capability and project assets to drive the rapid creation and monetisation of other digital content experiences like AR, VR, Games and Apps. Audiences are demanding quick, fresh content experiences from IP brands and content creators – they want the whole 360 degree experience….now. This helps content creators to know what is working for an audience quicker before future investment decisions are made.
Content due for release soon/in production?
Fika Entertainment is currently in production on four animation series, working with some of the largest IP owners across US, Canada and UK. Plus we also are actively working on and have completed gaming, motion capture, VFX (including real-time LED and greenscreen shoots) and other immersive experiences for entertainment clients including Coolabi, Mattel, ABC and non-entertainment clients as well including: Dementia Australia, AllPlay.org, and Marine Parks Australia.
Next big thing Fika Entertainment is focussed on?
Aside from ongoing production of animation, VFX and non-entertainment content which we are doing now, we are also working with our local Queensland and Gold Coast universities (Bond, Griffith, QUT) to explore some exciting new gaming opportunities for under-served and under-represented markets. We’re also expanding our interests in manufacturing for Virtual Production hardware and building out additional TV studio functionality in our Burleigh studio site.