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Studio calls for better Australian filming incentive

The LeftoversThe head of Docklands Studios in Melbourne, Australia, has renewed calls for a boost to the country’s federal filming incentive package.

Australia’s main financial support for international productions is a 16.5% location offset, but the production industry wants this doubled to help make the country more globally competitive. 

“What is interesting is that Australia was one of the very first countries to introduce an incentive of this nature, 15 or so years ago,” said Rod Allan, CEO of Docklands Studios, in comments to Australian media site Inside Film (IF). 

“Other countries adopted similar policy and then increased the incentive on offer. What that means is that we’re no longer competitive. 

“As soon as we are competitive financially then a whole lot of other things take care of themselves, because we have very good crews, we have crews that are used to working on international productions, and most of the international productions that come here are US or US-based.”

Docklands Studios mainly hosts Australian shoots but has also been used for acclaimed US drama series The Leftovers (pictured). High-profile feature Winchester – telling the bizarre true story of the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune – will shoot at the facility soon.

Allan told IF that Melbourne cannot compete with Sydney or Queensland to host Hollywood movies on the scale of Thor: Ragnarok, but he said that could change if Docklands Studios is able to expand.

For more on filming in Australia and for local contacts see our production guide.

“The reason we’re here is to provide support to the domestic industry, and be something which facilitates the growth and expansion of the industry here in Melbourne,” Allan told IF. 

“To do that we want to get as much international production as we can, and at the same time always keep space available for domestic production.”

Producer Mark Huffam called for an increase to Australia’s location offset when Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant filmed in Sydney last year. At the time Huffam said that the nature of the country’s incentive programme made it a challenge to consider Australia a long-term movie production option.    

Image: HBO


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