Australia’s Cumulus VFX has received a state government grant of A$1 million ($710,000) to relocate within New South Wales from Byron Bay to Ballina, where it will be linked to the Byron Studios that are now in development.
The move is just the latest in a succession of developments that are intended to keep Australia’s film and TV production sectors competitive.
The relocation and the grant will allow Cumulus to build larger premises and add 50 additional jobs, NSW’s Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts Ben Franklin said.
“This funding boost will assist in the enhanced attraction and servicing of clients in Australia and internationally and is a pivotal first step in accelerating our strategic partnership with Byron Studios through the development and provision of critical infrastructure for the post production and Visual Effects sector in the Northern Rivers,” said Cumulus VFX founder and CEO, Will Gammon.
Australia has managed to attract a large number of international film and TV productions to locations and studios around the country. These, and the acquisition of Fox Studios in Sydney by Disney, where Marvel movies are expected to occupy stages for several, years, have created a shortage of studio space for local production and smaller international shoots.
As a result, there are now several studio-building plans around Australia. These include: the Pacific Bay Studios development at Coffs Harbour in NSW, fronted by Russell Crowe; Byron Studios, which is also in NSW, but close to Queensland, which is a filmmaking hub dominated by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow; and the Screen Queensland facility to be built in tropical Cairns.
Australia’s federal government also continues to give financial and legal support to the country’s production sector. Earlier this month, the federal government increased from 20% to 30% to value of the production rebate (known locally as an ‘offset’) for the TV sector. It had come under pressure for the TV incentive to match that for feature films.
This week too, the federal government announced that it had renewed its longstanding co-production treaty with the U.K. This reflects new political realities, including the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, and updates conditions on producers’ financial contributions.
Among the large international movies currently filming in Australia is the George Clooney- and Julia Roberts-starring “Ticket to Paradise.” Directed by Ol Parker and backed by Working Titles Films, it is shooting in Brisbane, Gold Coast and coastal Queensland, standing in for Bali, Indonesia.