The Refinery, South Africa’s award winning post house, is under new ownership. Previously owned by eMedia Holdings, The Refinery in Cape Town and The First Order in Joburg now fall under The First Order Group, a proud Level 2 BBBEE Contributor for Post Production Services. We caught up with the teams from both offices about the new cross-country alliance.
The First Order CEO Alastair Orr says: ‘We wanted to build our business alongside the best in the industry. The Refinery’s business runs beautifully, in fact we believe they are at the top of their game, which is why we jumped at this opportunity.’ COO Ariye Mahdeb continues: ‘We know that the way to run post-production is to be nimble, you have to be, you simply can’t wait for massive corporate structures getting in the way of or slowing down processes, especially when your deadline is tomorrow (or yesterday). Flexibility and the ability to implement creativity and change quickly is The First Order’s strength and something we are excited to bring to this collaboration. We are a young agile team and this deal will turbocharge our and The Refinery’s offering, by taking what was there and revitalising it.’
‘The fruits of this venture have already paid off’ says The Refinery’s award-winning Colourist Kyle Stroebel about the acquisition. ‘The same high standards The Refinery has been known for haven’t changed and the creatives remain the same, but we are owned by a company of people incredibly focused on the craft and level of creativity we deliver. There’s nothing but the A team here and it’s all about creating excellent high-quality work.’
The result of the venture is a true force to be reckoned with, as the combined Cape Town and Joburg facility houses 16 edit suites, 3 fully calibrated grading theatres, Flame, 2 Atmos Audio suites as well as full VFX teams. All The Refinery and First Order clients and collaborators will now have access to these facilities to either work in person with the teams or remotely.
The Refinery’s Production Manager Ancois Human adds: ‘The thing with being owned by a fellow post production facility like The First Order is that they have faced the same struggles as we have, they completely understand what we tackle each day and what it takes to move forward on creative ideas. Not only that, but they also bring such honesty and integrity with them, it’s been a real joy.’
The Refinery now has a team in The First Order that completely understands the post industry, the value of creativity, the pressure and importance of turnaround times and budget constraints, but they also believe in the future of the industry. Since the start of venture, Chairman of The First Order Group, Sbonelo Mvuyana, has flown to Cape Town where he signed The Refinery’s newest Colourist, Ndumiso Mnguni. Sbonelo says of the signing: ‘Ndumiso is not only incredibly talented at his craft, but he’s also completed a HDR/Dolby colour training lab at Netflix. For us, it’s not just about transformation in the business, but also on screen.’
‘Ndumiso is someone I hold in such high regard. He would have been my first choice to join our team, so I’m extremely happy that he’s come down to work with us. I find him strong creatively, he has a developed eye and a look that is quite unique for this country. To bounce stuff off him creatively is a major win for our team.’ Adds Kyle Stroebel.
The reliability and quality of work that you have come to expect from The Refinery, partnered with the injection of creativity, energy and excitement around the established team from The First Order, promises great things for the post industry in South Africa. ‘Sometimes it felt like we had become part of the woodwork and it’s time for us to shine again.’ Adds Head of Refinery’s VFX, Rory Mark.