Australia opens $50m Temporary Interruption Fund

Productions resume despite near lockdown in the state of Victoria

By Chris Evans 19 Aug 2020

Australia opens $50m Temporary Interruption Fund
Tom Hanks in Queensland for the filming of Elvis biopic

The Australian government has opened the A$50m Temporary Interruption Fund to help get cameras rolling on films and TV shows.

The fund will be administered by Screen Australia on behalf of the federal government. It was announced in late June, in response to significant industry lobbying from producers including See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and CJZ’s Nick Murray.

The TIF will provide coverage during the last two weeks of pre-production and the period of principal photography in Australia. The fund will provide cover equivalent to 60% of the total budget, or A$4m, whichever is less. Applications will be allowed until the end of May next year, unless the fund has been exhausted before then. And at no point will Screen Australia allow itself more than $50m of exposure.

Eligible productions include feature films, drama series, documentary series and single episode programs that will be made in Australia and have passed the “significant Australian content” test or have been accepted as an official co-production. They will also have to have secured “Film Producers Indemnity” insurance covering named individuals, from an approved insurer.

Industry body, Screen Producers Australia has estimated that the coronavirus-caused lockdowns affected 120 local productions and over 30,000 working employees, freelancers and contractors.

However, local and international productions are slowly starting up again, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which recently resumed filming in Sydney, after production was stopped over COVID-19 safety concerns. Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic, starring Tom Hanks, is also set to resume filming soon.

Large, inbound foreign productions are being treated separately from the smaller-budget Australian titles. In July, the federal government announced some $280m (A$400m) of cash grants over the next seven years, through its “Location Incentive” plan. These subsidies are in addition to the existing “Location Offset” system, under which projects can receive rebates for production and post-production work done in the country, and in addition to similar subsidies from individual state governments.

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