Move designed to attract international projects

SYDNEY — In an acknowledgement of the dire state of the Aussie film industry, the government has announced an overhaul of the location offset and the post, digital and visual effects (PDV) rebates, designed to attract international productions.

The announcements, which come ahead of an extensive review on how to help the embattled industry due at the end of the year, were announced in the 2010 budget. They aim to stem the flow of pics ankling from lensing in Oz, such as “The Green Lantern” and, more recently, Peter Berg’s “Battleship.”

The threshold has been lowered on the amount that mid-range pictures ($A15 million-$A50 million, $13.4 million-$45 million) must spend Down Under; previous requirement of pics to spend 70% of their production budget here have been scrapped.

And, in a move to help shore up the post sector, which is in danger of post-house closures due to lack of work, the threshold to qualify for the 15% PDV offset has been dropped from $4.5 million to $450,000.

Changes will come into effect July 1.

Ausfilm topper Jackie O’Sullivan, who has been lobbying the government for action ahead of the review findings, welcomed the removal of the unnecessarily restrictive measures.

These adjustments will have an immediate and positive impact for Australias film industry, said O’Sullivan.

The post-sector, which is facing virtually no large-scale work after “Happy Feet 2″ and “Guardian of GaHoole” wrap this year, also backed the move.

The lowering of the qualifying threshold for the PDV incentive is fantastic news for Australian visual effects companies, said Fuel VFX producer Jason Bath, who has worked on “Iron Man 2″ and “Australia.”

“It has been increasingly hard to get the U.S. studios to bid with Australian companies because our incentive was uncompetitive,” he said.

Now all eyes will be on the review to see if the percentages of the offsets will also be lifted to further aid the empty studio space Down Under.

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