Coronavirus

Why More Hollywood Productions Are Coming To Australia

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Australia is becoming a top destination for international movie productions because COVID-19 is stopping them from filming elsewhere around the world. 

Our own government has even announced a 400 million dollar incentive to companies who choose to film at Aussie locations, and it’s a decision that is being both celebrated and cautioned.  

So, What Does This Incentive Mean For The Australian Film Industry?  

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the TV and film industries came to a complete global halt. 

In Australia, they are back in production now – at least to some extent – and in July, the federal government even announced a financial incentive that would attract overseas productions to come in and film in Australia.  

It’s largely because we’re one of the few countries being promoted as covidsafe for shooting. 

Since the incentive was announced, there’s been roughly 2.7 billion dollars worth of inquiries from international production companies. 

Three major TV series form the Universal Studio Group have recently confirmed they’re going to be filming in Queensland, as well as some massive movies like Marvel’s upcoming Thor, and Paramount’s Shantaram. 

Ultimately, the incentive is predicted to create 8000 new local jobs over the next seven years.  

The hope is that it will also teach invaluable skills that would have otherwise only been taught on specialised overseas sets. 

Kate Croser, who’s the CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation, thinks the incentive will also mean that Australia could financially benefit from some of the big budgets of Hollywood films. 

Kate CroserThere is 177 billion dollars’ worth of film production happening globally. That was last year’s figures, so 2019. That production is going to go somewhere, whether it goes to the UK, to Hungary, [or] to South Africa. And, I guess, the federal government putting that investment into the location incentive, is about saying, well if it’s going to go anywhere it’s going to go to Australia – bring that investment to Australia, and the jobs to Australia.” 

Some People Are A Bit More Hesitant About Hollywood Coming To Australia 

There are concerns that the new government incentive could provide a haven for foreign productions, while local productions are sidelined.  

Brad Taylor from Screen Producers Australia, questions how Australia’s cultural voice, and the telling of our own stories, will suffer if local production isn’t supported enough.  

And the ongoing Make It Australian campaign, which launched in 2017, argues that the ability to keep telling Australian stories on screen is still at risk, and that our voices are in danger of being drowned out by overseas content.  

While Kate recognises the importance of Australian stories, she says it’s all about finding a balance between international and local content production – and that the industry should be doing everything it can to increase the amount of production that is made here in Australia. 

KC: “The more production activity that there is in Australia – whether it’s local or overseas – the more we are going to build a really solid foundation of the infrastructure we need, like studios and soundstages, the crew base we need, the cast and acting talent we need, and also, all of the service companies that sit around the screen industry. 

The Takeaway 

People have legitimate reasons to be concerned for the future of Australian films, given how small our industry is compared to those overseas, and how hard the entertainment industries have been hit by the pandemic.  

But, with the Government’s new filming incentive, the Australian film industry has a real opportunity to enter a global market, which could bring some serious economic benefits to Australia.