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World of Locations Screen International

Overview and productions

Australia is proving to be one of hottest shooting territories in the world at the moment, hosting two Marvel Entertainment movies, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings and Thor: Love And Thunder, back to back at the now Disney-owned Fox Studios in Sydney from the end of 2019.

Marvel returns to Australia having previously shot Thor: Ragnarok at the Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland. The latest Thor instalment will be boosted by a $16m (a$24.1m) location incentive grant and is expected to spend around $119m (a$178m) and create up to 2,500 jobs when it shoots in August 2020.

“NSW is the complete package, offering a spectacular location and skilled technicians that can support the requirements of a major blockbuster film,” enthuses NSW minister for the arts Don Harwin.

The Made in NSW Fund has a pot of $37m (a$55m) to support features and TV projects over the next three years. 

Disney-owned Marvel’s announcement was a boost to Sydney’s already film-friendly profile and followed the news in July that Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic — Lucasfilm’s visual-effects division — has set up a production hub in the city, adjacent to Fox Studios.

Over in Queensland, meanwhile, Legendary Entertainment’s monster movie sequel Godzilla Vs Kong shot for 26 weeks at Village Roadshow Studios in 2019.

While in Melbourne, Docklands Studios has been hosting the Netflix and NBCUniversal eight-part drama Clickbait from the end of 2019. The federal government will provide $3.3m (a$4.9m) for the series through the location incentive programme, with the Victorian government also supporting the production through Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund.

In South Australia, locations in and around Adelaide doubled for South Africa in Francis Annan’s feature directing debut Escape From Pretoria, for the UK’s Footprint Films. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe in the true story of white anti-apartheid campaigners who were jailed in 1978 for supporting the African National Congress, but then pulled off a daring escape.

“On our recce there, our production designer Scott Bird showed us a picture of Cape Town in the 1970s, and it looked exactly like Adelaide now,” enthuses Mark Blaney at Footprint Films to KFTV.

“The project was a real combination of local crew and production talent, and also the support of South Australia Film Corporation who were also backers. If there was ever a moment where you weren’t quite sure of something you could pick their brains on the local angle on stuff,” says Blaney.

The list of productions drawn to shoot in the country by the incentives, studios and low Australian dollar, goes on and on, including Dora and the Lost City of God, Monster Problems and Apple’s Shantaram TV series.

So, it’s no surprise that foreign production spend in the country more than tripled from $111m in 2017/18 to $410m in 2018/19, according to Screen Australia.

Crew and infrastructure

The state of Queensland has built on its production infrastructure with the launch of Screen Queensland Studios in a suburb of Brisbane in 2019. The facility is adapted from former cotton sheds in Hemmant — just under 10 miles from Brisbane’s city centre — and includes a pair of 65,000 square feet soundstages, two 65,000 square feet warehouses and office space.

The studio is being positioned to cater for low- to mid-budget features, TV dramas and commercials, making it a potential competitor for Docklands Studios in Melbourne (which offers five stages).

Also in Queensland is the Village Roadshow Studios, which offer water tank facilities and nine soundstages, the largest of which spans 40,000 square feet, and Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, which has nine stages among its production resources.

Australian crews are world-renowned and experienced at working on big-budget Hollywood productions. 

Australia is a big country and an integrated air transport network serves all the state capitals and many of the regional areas. European productions also now benefit from the recently launched non-stop flight between London and Perth in Western Australia.

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