David Pisoni (L) and Michael Rowan (Photo: Kelly Barnes)

Adelaide Studios’ sound mixing theatre has been named after South Australia’s ‘godfather’ of sound Michael Rowan.

Rowan constructed, operated and maintained the South Australian Film Corp’s sound mixing theatres from the earliest days at the Queens Studios in Norwood in the 1970s, followed by the original mono mixing theatre at Hendon, the first Dolby stereo mixing console in 1982 and the first Foley studio in 1984.

The facility received the Dolby Premier Accreditation in 2012, at that time the only one of its kind in Australia.

Currently the Michael Rowan Sound Mixing Theatre is playing host to Unjoo Moon’s debut feature I Am Woman, which stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as singer Helen Reddy and will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

SA Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni paid tribute to Rowan’s 40-year contribution to establishing the State as a technical frontrunner in the competitive sound post-production business.

His technical ingenuity and ability to negotiate with producers brought in more than 100 international productions to the SAFC alongside local productions.

Rowan said: “In 1974 I was hired by John Morris, the then head of production at SAFC. He changed my life giving me a dream job which introduced me to the wonderful people and technologies of the film industry. Thank you for this honour, I will treasure it every day.”

Sound designer James Currie said: “When I think of Michael Rowan I see an artist, questioning, understanding the indivisible, the unsolvable and quietly nodding with the satisfaction that he may not know the answer immediately but confident that it will come eventually. His infuriating modesty is armed with a dry sense of humour and casual temperate air of a genius at work.”

Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight, who produced I Am Woman with Moon, said: “I choose to bring our films’ sound post production to Adelaide Studios, which have a world class sound mixing stage and a team of extremely experienced and talented sound professionals.”

Director/writer/producer Rolf de Heer added: “Were it not for Michael Rowan’s ease, geniality and understanding of what is a fair deal, I would not have come to South Australia to make a film in the first place.

“Were it not for the wonderful mixing theatre he hand-built at Hendon Studios, I would not have discovered sound. Were it not for his foresight, I would not have been enticed back to South Australia to make Bad Boy Bubby, The Quiet Room and Dance Me To My Song; they would never have been made.

“Were it not for his technical genius in building the mixing theatre at the new studios, I would not have wanted to keep coming back for the post production of the films I do. I can practically dedicate my career to him.”

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