Practitioners I’ve spoken to have welcomed New South Wales’ A$25 million ($21 million) film incentive boost. Twenty million dollars of the increase has been ring-fenced to attract large-scale productions to the state. Recent Hollywood movies that have shot in NSW include Wolverine, Superman Returns and Star Wars Episode 3. The latest Mad Max film, Fury Road, is expected to begin shooting later this year. A further A$5 million ha been earmarked for Screen NSW’s production investment fund to support local productions.
Jennie Hughes, director of Hughes Media, says: “By way of these substantial incentives the NSW government is showing a major commitment to attracting and driving international business to NSW.”
James Vernon, managing director of Media Funds Management, adds that the future is all about international partnerships. From a financing perspective, the funding increase will go some way to making Australia more attractive as a co-production partner, he says.
“Any incentive available to the producer is welcome in the current economic environment but Australia and New South Wales specifically continue to provide local and international productions with sustained, innovative incentive opportunities,” adds Alan Harris of Atlantic South.
The government calculates a trickledown effect for the local economy through film. Every dollar invested in Australian film production returns about A$25 million to NSW, say the authorities – which sound awfully toppy to me.
The local National Drama Production Survey showed that 65% of drama production worth A$434 million took place in NSW in 2008/09. More than 1,400 film and TV-related businesses are located in NSW, employing more than 6,800 people and generating income of around $1.3 billion a year.