Film and TV drama production in Australia in 2013-14 reached A$837 million (US$729 million at current exchange rates), an 11% increase on the previous year, according to the ‘Drama Report’ published annually by regulator Screen Australia.
Local TV and feature films accounted for A$640 million (US$557 million) or 76% of the total drama production expenditure.
Local feature films increased their spend by 18% with expenditure of A$297 million (US$259 million), headed by “Gods of Egypt” and Russell Crowe’s directorial debut “The Water Diviner,” and Australian-international co-productions “Life” and animation “Maya the Bee Movie.”
Foreign activity accounted for expenditure in Australia of A$197 million (US$173 million) in 2013/14, up from $131 million (US$115 million) last year, primarily due to the high-budget U.S. features “Unbroken” and “San Andreas.” Nine foreign features and two foreign TV dramas started shooting in Australia during the year, and 15 foreign projects, all features, undertook post-production or visual effects work in the country without shooting there.
The report’s snapshot of funding sources for wholly-Australian and Australian co-produced films show that foreign firms provided 51% of finance, sharply up from the 30% of the year before. Producer’s offset financing accounted for a further 26%. Direct government funding, at A$29.7 million (US$25.9 million), accounted for 8% of the total, with Screen Australia investing $22 million (US$19.2 million) into 17 of the 35 features that went into production during the year. The state (regional) agencies contributed $7 million (US$6.1 million) to 23 features.
“It’s been a strong year for Australian production with an exciting line-up of content to hit our screens next year. Local content is still the main game and the bedrock of our industry,” said Screen Australia, chief executive, Graeme Mason. “The support provided through direct funding, incentives and regulation enables the sector to keep delivering great stories to audiences. And significant foreign production has returned to our shores this year, building on the strength and skills of our local production sector.”
Observers point to this year’s weakening of the Australian dollar against the U.S. currency as a factor that is likely to keep Hollywood’s ‘runaway productions’ flowing to Down Under locations and facilities.