While still recovering from the economic strife caused by COVID restrictions, the Australian film industry is enjoying a surge in production from the international market.
It’s no secret that film and television production has taken a hit since the outbreak of the virus. Screen Australia estimates the total financial loss incurred to be $325 million. The hefty sum is the combined cost of the 26 drama productions delayed due to COVID restrictions. Essentially, the virus wreaked havoc on the industry, as it forced widespread closures and filming delays across Australia. The sector was on track for a record year before disaster struck, leading to a near total shutdown in March of 2020.
Chief executive of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason, states that
“never in the 30-year history of the drama report have we seen an event like the COVID-19 pandemic.” Indeed, the “large-scale impact is unprecendented”.
Expediture on drama fell 18% since 2018/2019, and certain productions never resumed filming due to financial losses and schedule interruptions. According to experts, the full economic toll is yet to be known.
Despite all this, Australia is in much better shape than other countries when it comes to COVID. For this reason, the Australian industry is experiencing a boost from the international market. A $400 million location incentive issued by the federal government in a bid to secure screen productions is worth over $2 billion. Thanks to this, there are an estimated 37 projects in progress that audiences can expect in the near future. This figure is three times that of 2019’s numbers. In addition to being relatively COVID-free, Australia is an attractive prospect to filmmakers for its diverse environment, which can double for almost anywhere in the world.
Not to mention, we’re home to state-of-the-art production facilities and incredibly talented and well-known creatives. For actors and crew, the surge in production will see a much needed increase in work, especially in regional areas. NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia are all gearing up for filming in the near future. Employment, in combination with international investments, will result in domestic industry growth and a boost to the Australian economy. An economy which relies on international drama productions to bring in $380 million per year.
Upcoming films being shot in Australia to keep an eye out for:
- Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic starring Tom Hanks, being filmed in Queensland
- Stan’s original thriller, ‘Gold’ starring Zac Efron, to be filmed in South Australia
- The film adaption of Liane Moriarty’s novel, ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ starring Nicole Kidman
- The sci-fi flick ‘Spiderhead’ starring Chris Hemsworth
- ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ starring Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, being filmed in Sydney, NSW
For more, check out our 12 most anticipated movies of 2021. This year will no doubt be a big one for film in Australia. Although the question remains as to whether a surge from international productions will compensate for the revenue already lost under restrictions. Provided Australia retains its COVID-free status, we could be looking at cementing our film industry as one that is internationally competitive.
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