/News 31.07.23


Cumulus VFX’s story is one of a company that in the space of 10 years, has undergone an evolutionary process from a one-man garage-based start-up into a key vendor for studios like Disney and Netflix, partnering with industry leading organisations to become a bustling boutique regional Studio that pairs the pleasures of life in the famed Northern Rivers with the craft of bringing colour to the stories of others through high quality VFX for film and television.

This is ample cause for celebration, and so on a recent early winter evening as the sun set over the Richmond River, Cumulus’s crew downed-tools and threw open the Studio doors to mark the combined anniversaries of a decade in business and a year in their bespoke Ballina Studio, which rests on land within the Bundjalung Nation.

Greeting guests with candlelight, live music and drinks sourced from local businesses, is in sharp contrast to the fact that just over a year ago, the Studio space was an empty concrete box and the entire region had been devastated by unprecedented flooding.


The Covid pandemic had seen founder, Will Gammon, recognise the opportunity offered by the NSW Government’s Regional Job Creation Fund to spur Cumulus’s next evolution; the successful application for $1M of Government co-funding allowed Cumulus to continue their rethink of the narrative of working in VFX.

Cumulus’s ‘rethink’ saw the company develop a unique attraction point for industry-leading Senior Artists – ‘spend your working hours using bleeding-edge technology to bring life to award-winning film content and your personal hours exploring the waterways, National Parks and stunning hinterland townships that the Northern Rivers has to offer’.

This in turn fostered close relationships with local education providers, with Cumulus providing traineeship pathways for talented students to work with and be developed by global-standard Senior Artists.

The decision was made to take a strategic leap from Byron Bay to nearby Ballina; a larger, more commercially oriented LGA with the amenities needed to operate a world-class VFX Studio. The NSW Government’s co-funding was put to use in designing a purpose-built studio that allowed for an expanded crew of up to 50 artists, with a communal eating area and a pool for exercise. The stage was set, but just days before commencement of the build the destructive 2022 floods hit, leading to severe shortages of construction materials and labour, as entire crews devoted themselves to rebuilding the homes of those hardest hit.

Fortunately, like many entrepreneurs Will’s story allows him to draw from more than one discipline. He was able to incorporate part-time construction and project management into his suite of responsibilities, which at the time included the role of VFX Supervisor on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (2022 Winner AACTA Best VFX Award). 

With Cumulus looking for ways to operate in an increasingly planet-friendly way, priority was given throughout the build to methods that enabled re-use of building materials wherever possible (diverting construction waste from landfill), and new materials that were environmentally friendly and low-toxicity. 

Now the Studio is fully operational, and guests were welcomed, commemorated by a Welcome to Country and the sharing of stories by Bundjalung Elder Aunty Julia Paden, and Will sharing his own story as founder of Cumulus.

Cumulus’s story so far encompasses a pandemic, natural disaster, combined with a new Studio build and the entry of other VFX houses into the Australian market.

The setting is the ever-changing backdrop of the Richmond River and hills beyond, and the cast of calm and friendly creatives bring life and a quiet hum to the Studio.

With many exciting plot points yet to come, and many stories remaining for Cumulus’s crew to bring to life, the book of Cumulus is far from written.