Proposed amendments to Australia’s Locations Incentive and a favourable exchange rate against the US dollar have renewed international film-maker interest in the country. Securing Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant was a huge boon for the country’s New South Wales screen sector, with the first of the director’s Prometheus sequels now in production at Sydney’s Fox Studios, employing up to 600 cast and crew.
Further north, Queensland’s crews and facilities will be put to work on Disney/Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok when Taika Waititi’s film commences shooting at Warner Roadshow Studios in June. The film follows the lengthy shoot of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2015. Second World War drama Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson, recently wrapped a three-month shoot at Fox Studios and nearby locations, with regional Sydney doubling for Japanese island Okinawa and Lynchburg, Virginia.
The Australian government has indicated it intends to permanently increase the Locations Incentive tax rebate to 30% from 16.5% from May 2016. Presently, an uncapped 16.5% rebate is available to films with a minimum qualifying Australian production expenditure of $11.7m (a$15m) — or $780,000 (a$1m) per finished television hour. There is a 30% rebate for post and VFX work, and 40% for official co-productions with Australia. State agencies offer additional production incentives. To date, a small number of qualifying large-scale projects that promise demonstrable economic benefits have been able to secure one-off amendments to the Locations Offset rebate scheme, increasing it to 30%.
Full details of financial incentives in Australia: Ausfilm
Infrastructure and crews
Australia’s record craft Oscar haul for Mad Max: Fury Road is testament to its skills base. The eastern states house sound stages with backlot facilities at Docklands Studios Melbourne, Sydney’s Fox Studios Australia and Village Roadshow Studios on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Adelaide has an additional boutique facility within an industry production space.
Australia is a sizeable continent but network coverage on location shoots is generally excellent. The three major studios have backlot facilities and are close to international airports. Internal flights connect to regional locations daily.
Ridley Scott, director, Alien: Covenant
“Sydney is absolutely one of the most beautiful places to be, it looks fantastic and it’s spectacularly clean.”
First person to call
Kate Marks, executive vice-president, international production, Ausfilm
Need to know
- DO consult livestock expert and horse master Grahame Ware Jr. He has supplied horses to Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Gods Of Egypt and The Water Diviner.
- DO hold your wrap party at East nightclub, Broadbeach, Queensland. It is a popular spot for films shooting at Warner Roadshow Studios.
- DO contact Ausfilm about booking an inbound scout.
- DO leave your pets at home or risk falling foul of Australia’s strict quarantine laws (ask Johnny Depp).
- DON’T think Australia is only beaches and outback. Southern states experience snowfalls in winter (June to September).