New South Wales to lure film prod’n

New gov't budget arts friendly

SYDNEY — The New South Wales Labor government is launching an annual $A600,000 ($312,000) fund to attract film production nationally and internationally.

That was one of a host of initiatives in an arts-friendly budget unveiled Tuesday to the NSW Parliament.

Premier and Arts Minister Bob Carr said the new fund would allow NSW to compete for film production. “We want to win as much of this type of film production as we can, creating new jobs and investment across the state.” His government gave incentives to persuade 20th Century Fox to build the Fox Studios in Sydney.

Taking a swipe at the conservative federal government, whose budget last week rejected industry pleas for increased grants for film development, Carr announced an extra $260,000 per year would be spent on intensive workshops to improve the quality of Australian scripts.

Carr accused John Howard’s government of ignoring “overwhelming evidence that Australian films are being rushed into production before scripts are up to scratch.”

Among other measures included in the budget are:

  • A fund to encourage filmmakers to shoot on locations outside Sydney;

  • The creation of a digital library of NSW film locations to promote the state as a filming destination;

  • Assistance from the NSW Film & Television Office to reopen cinemas in rural areas.

The budget also provided funding to examine sound problems and overcrowding in the opera theater pit at the Sydney Opera House and for theater and music companies to tour regional NSW.