Variety biz expo on the move in Oz

SYDNEY — Variety’s Showbiz Expo Australia is joining Oz’s two most important film and TV events in moving from Melbourne to Sydney in 1998.

Endorsed by the Australian Cinematographers Society, Variety’s film, multimedia and video production expo will have its Oz debut in Melbourne on Nov. 13-15, alongside the annual Screen Producers Assn. of Australia (SPAA) confab and the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, Oz’s equivalent of the Oscars and Emmys.

The SPAA conference is the top event on Oz’s film and TV calendar, attracting about 700 producers, directors, TV execs, writers, financiers, analysts and agencies.

Announced with much fanfare on Wednesday at Parliament House by New South Wales (NSW) state premier Bob Carr, the three-year deal to stage the three events in Sydney is part of a concerted campaign by Carr’s administration to position Sydney as Oz’s showbiz capital.

In recent years, rival state Queensland has proved popular for location shoots owing to low fees and ease of transport. In 1994, Victoria state premier Jeff Kennett’s signing to stage the AFIs and SPAA for three years was just one of a string of event acquisitions to focus more attention on the southern city of Melbourne.

“It is only natural that the awards return to NSW, because this is the home to the majority of Australian film and TV companies,” Carr said, adding that Oz’s five terrestrial networks, three main feevee carriers and the upcoming Fox Studios are based in Sydney.

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