You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Proyas spat muddles Oz pic rebates

Failed bid leads to confusion among filmmakers

“Knowing” helmer Alex Proyas’ failed bid to tap Australia’s generous 40% producer offset for Nicolas Cage starrer “Knowing” is generating confusion among international filmmakers planning to shoot in Oz.

Lobbying agency Ausfilm says Proyas’ battle with federal funder Screen Australia over his $58 million pic’s eligibility for the rebate has led to a spike of concerned enquiries about the incentive schemes.

A source familiar with the situation cautioned that “Knowing” might still qualify for the offset, adding that Proyas is leading an effort to make another application for the subsidy.

There are two levels of rebates: the 40% tax offset for Australian films that must pass a test to prove their “Australian-ness”; and the 15% tax offset for runaway Hollywood productions.

“Knowing,” financed by Summit Entertainment, failed the “Australian” test even though Proyas, an Aussie, produced and directed the pic and shot it in Melbourne (standing in for Boston) using a largely local crew.

However, despite re-writing the script, Proyas does not have a writing credit, which for Screen Australia undermines its right to apply for the higher credit.

“We made the film (thinking) it was unlikely it would qualify. I feel very strongly we should,” says “Knowing” executive producer Topher Dow.

Confusion has arisen because other Oz directors’ claims for the 40% rebate on productions developed abroad but shooting, or due to shoot in Oz, have been rejected, while other international films pass.

Last month Oz helmer George Miller failed to get a provisional certificate for his planned Warner Bros. pic “Justice League America,” re-tagged “Justice League Mortal.” Pic is now in turnaround.

But digital effects house Animal Logic obtained a provisional certificate for American Zack Snyder’s “Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” even though it was developed Stateside. CGI movie is being made in Sydney.

As with “Justice League” and all other sizeable foreign shoots “Knowing” is eligible for the 15% offset. Understandably, Summit would prefer a rebate of some $20 million to the $6 million it is otherwise eligible for.

Ausfilm topper Caroline Pitcher said the perception among international filmmakers that Australia is reneging on its funding schemes is damaging, especially as the Oz government has enshrined its incentives in legislation that protects them from being easily altered.

She added, as a reminder, “The location offset is standing at 15% and those projects are being processed in good time.”

More Film

  • Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in

    Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' for Netflix

    Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman will star in the movie adaptation of the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix. George C. Wolfe (“Lackawanna Blues”) will direct from a script by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the award-winning play by August Wilson. Other cast include Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Michael Potts. Denzel [...]

  • Crazy Bitches

    Why the CASE Act Will Empower Creatives to Fight the Horrors of Piracy

    Our horror film, “Crazy Bitches,” was released on Valentine’s Day 2015. We invested in an online marketing campaign that resulted in two times the industry clickthrough rate and 2.6M social media impressions in the week leading up to the release. So, we had reason to expect a successful return. What we didn’t count on was [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse LA

    Alamo Drafthouse to Open in Downtown Los Angeles in July

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is planning to open its first Los Angeles location with a “soft launch” in early July in the city’s downtown. The Texas-based chain, which has 38 locations, specializes food and drink service with unique programming. It announced Wednesday that the Los Angeles site, located at the Bloc, would offer an [...]

  • Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following

    Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following Sexual Assault Allegations

    Max Landis has been dropped as a client by his manager, a day after sexual assault allegations emerged against the  screenwriter. “I do not represent Max Landis,” Britton Rizzio at Writ Large Management told Variety in a statement. Landis is facing allegations of sexual abuse and psychological manipulation from eight women who told their stories [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Another Round of Layoffs Hit Disney and 20th Century Fox Film Divisions (EXCLUSIVE)

    Another round of layoffs are going down for employees merged in Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, individuals with knowledge of the company told Variety. The Wednesday reduction is the smallest round the studio has enacted since formally acquiring the film and TV assets of 20th Century in March, with a few dozen employees being [...]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Netflix Lands Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Tick, Tick... Boom' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following a heated bidding war, Netflix has walked away with the rights to “Tick, Tick… Boom,” a musical adaptation to be directed by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Sources say Andrew Garfield is the top choice to star, though no deal is done. “Dear Evan Hansen” writer Stephen Levenson adapting the script based on the original [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content