A manicured circular drive greets the new Adelaide Studios, home to the South Australian Film Corporation and local production companies. If you didn’t know what this building was built for back in the late 1800s, you’d be thinking it was rather grandiose.
It sure is a far cry from the converted factory of the Hendon Studios, recently described by SAFC CEO, Richard Harris as “an old bashed up car, that had been taken out in the bush”.
On inspecting my new production office at the Studios I was genuinely taken aback by the amount of work and effort going on around me. From tiling to plastering to painting, the finishing touches maniacally being put in place.
Our office is on the second floor and there were many ways to get to it, as we found dodging the drilling, and sanding, and lots of noise. As I got lost in the interior decorating and colour schemes a sense of sadness started to take over. It was a very strange feeling that increased by the time I got to my new office.
The room itself was quaint, smaller than what we asked for, and priced the same as our neighbour’s larger offices. Aside from that, it had reasonable natural light and all the basic amenities attached. Yet when I looked out our window a white bar ran straight down in front of me.
It was at that moment I realised where I was. Our tour guide told me our room used to be two cells and you could still see where they had knocked down neighbouring walls and the other cell door.
Apparently the room conversion happened decades ago and no one has used this office in 40 years. By this stage my chest felt tight I had to step out of the room to breathe.
I can be very susceptible to energies in places, both good and bad. However in that office I felt an overwhelming sense of misunderstanding and persecution. When I got in my car to leave I broke down in tears.
We can’t deny what is about to happen. The South Australian screen industry, my industry, is about to take over a place that is burdened with some of South Australia’s darkest secrets. While we can’t change that, or the decision to house us there, we can turn it into something new and vibrant.
I, like many other South Australians am concerned about the state’s future for mental health services however I am hopeful that the Adelaide Studios is one small step toward de-stigmatising the illness.