Film, TV industry escapes worst effects of disaster

As the flood water subsides, the film industry in Australia’s Queensland is counting itself lucky that it escaped largely unscathed in the aftermath of one of the state’s biggest natural disasters.

While three-quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone following weeks of torrential rain, the devastating flooding didn’t reach its capital, Brisbane, until last week.

Queenland’s main filming facility, Village Roadshow Studios, is 45 minutes south of Brisbane on higher ground, meaning that the film and TV industry managed to avoid the worst of the floods.

“We are witnessing the extraordinary dedication of emergency and defense services, and the enthusiastic and capable assistance of an army of volunteers, to restore Brisbane’s streets and services,” Maureen Barron, Screen Queensland topper said in a statement. “Queensland’s major film infrastructure on the Gold Coast is located far from the affected riverside suburbs of Brisbane and has not experienced flood damage.”

Barron added that the screen agency still was trying to assess the full impact of the floods and that it was offering office space, facilities and flexibility with funding to any affected productions.

One project that had a close call was sci-fi pic “Iron Sky,” which had a two-day location shoot planned just outside Brisbane. Hours after it completed the first day, the area was under several feet of water. The second day now will be moved inside the Gold Coast studios.

Producer Mark Overett, from New Holland Pictures, said he felt fortunate to have been let off so lightly, adding that the floods had very little financial impact on the pic, which tells the fanciful story of how Nazi troops fled to the moon in 1945 to plot their return to earth in 2013.

“Sadly some of our crew had to rush home as their homes have been affected by the flooding and we have had to adapt as some of our extras have literally not been able to get out of their homes to travel,” Overett said. “So we had to do with less people — my son, Alexander, became a German school boy for a day.”

Overett, whose company is based in Queensland, said it will not have any effect on his upcoming productions.

Feevee Foxtel’s drama “Slide,” about five Aussie teenagers, lost three days of shooting in and around Brisbane. Foxtel’s Victoria Richards said it will shoot in Queensland until March and she did not expect the floods to change the delivery of the drama, which is due to air this year.

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