It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted the international film industry. Between production shutdowns, cinema closures, premiere delays and economic hardship, the once all-powerful juggernaut of Hollywood filmmaking came screeching to a halt… and then it came roaring into Australia.
Thanks to our handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Morrison Government’s multimillion dollar location incentive program, talented crew members, perennially great weather and wide range of shooting terrain, Australia has become a hub for filmmakers that are unable to shoot their pictures Stateside.
In a huge win for our film industry, Marvel Studios will now likely set up shop in Sydney for the foreseeable future, with studio president Kevin Feige said to be planning a more permanent move to our fine shores.
The film is expected to create up to 2,500 jobs in NSW and use the services of around 1,650 businesses. The production is expected to spend around AUD $178 million and Marvel Studios will also provide a local trainee scheme to target skills shortages and get more Australians into the film industry.
And it’s not just Marvel creating economic opportunities for the country, other Hollywood productions are also giving us the boost we so desperately need.
Most recently, it was announced that Julia Roberts and George Clooney will be filming their latest production in Australia, as their romantic comedy — Ticket To Paradise — has been granted $6.4 million in federal government funding to be made here.
Filming of the big budget blockbuster is expected to begin around Queensland’s Whitsundays later this year, and is expected to create more than 270 local jobs and inject $47 million into the economy.
The movie will feature Clooney and Roberts as a divorced couple who “team up and travel to Bali to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.”
Meanwhile, Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy, who is currently in Aus filming Nine Perfect Strangers with Nicole Kidman and Luke Evans, will remain on our shores to shoot Netflix workplace comedy God’s Favorite Idiot with her husband and fellow actor, Ben Falcone.
The production is expected to employ more than 300 Australian cast and crew and inject more than $74 million into the Australian economy.
The benefits of such an economic boost are fairly obvious: more jobs, not just in the entertainment industry, but across hospitality, transport, real estate and tourism and more opportunity for the word to spread that Australia is an incredible place to shoot — which will ideally lead to productions choosing to film here long after the pandemic has ceased.
As conversations around the importance of giving a platform to a more diverse cross section of people persist, surely we have a responsibility to our homegrown writers, directors, producers and actors to assist them in sharing their experiences with a wider audience.
Here’s hoping that the gains we have already seen in the Aussie film industry lead to the opportunity for more funding to be granted to local creatives so that the unique stories of Australian filmmakers can be given the chance to be heard on a global stage.