World Report: Australia 2012

The Down Under film biz is not just relying on coin and government handouts to help tempt runaways, there are a range of other initiatives to help make it easier to head to Oz.

In February, Film Victoria launched its online database eMate that is aimed at making it easier for international creatives to create a relationship with Aussie bizzers. The database is expected to help international films firm up Aussie partners that may help access the Producer Offset, currently at a competitive 40%, which requires a key “Australian content” test that includes the use of locals in key creative roles.

Film Victoria topper Jenni Tosi says the launch of the database has been a great success with many overseas and local creatives already getting in touch.

“There are quite a considerable number of projects that we are tracking and we are talking to a range of studios and independents, and with those projects it just a matter of timing,” Tosi says.

She says Victoria, which recently hosted Miramax’s “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” and actioner “Killer Elite,” sees a lot of repeat business; however, they have to stay vigilant having recently lost a U.S. series to Canada due to Oz’s distance.

Of course, sometimes getting out of town can be a benefit in the run-up to Hollywood’s pilot season.

“Due to the timing of pilot season in the U.S., Sony Pictures Television was attracted to the prospect of shooting the pilot episode of ‘Frontier’ in our region,” says Tosi. “Film Victoria was very quick to respond and offer the right mix of incentives, locations advice and production services to convince the filmmakers they could make this drama pilot here.”

In neighboring South Australia, there has been something of a film biz revolution with pix such as Justin Kurzel’s “Snowtown” going on to international acclaim and local feel-good pic “Red Dog” grabbing more than $A20 million ($20.6 million) at the Aussie B.O. The state has opened a state-of-the-art new studio complex called Adelaide Studios. The studios bowed late last year and have been developed for $44.4 million, including custom-built sound stages, cutting-edge post-production facilities and a mixing room which has only just achieved Dolby Premiere Accreditation.

The last pic to shoot at the old Hendon Studios, Rolf de Heer’s “The King Is Dead,” was first into the new sound-mixing suite while TV mini “Resistance,” co-produced by Andrew Dillon and Lesley Parker, was one of the first skeins to lens in the space.

“The new Adelaide Studios is the only Australian studio that is backed by a government screen agency, allowing it great flexibility to tailor packages across production and post-production for filmmakers,” says South Australian Film Corp. topper Richard Harris. “The Adelaide Studios has strong appeal for independent producers with budgets ranging from ($5.6 million-$31 million).”

So while the financial incentives may be yet to materialize, the industry itself is getting ready for the influx.

World Report: Austraila 2012
‘Wolverine’ meets ‘Gatsby’ | Foreign and local creatives hook up on eMate | People to watch

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