Village Roadshow Entertainment Group CE0 Greg Basser has warned the film production industry in Australia could face a bleak feature unless there are competitive incentive programs.
Basser outlined two alternative scenarios for the industry in 2018 when he addressed Screen Australia’s policy conference in Canberra.
The Utopian view, he said, will see a “vibrant and internationally relevant” industry producing indigenous films for local consumption, with the occasional international break out, plus truly global films seen throughout the world.
But without a competitive incentive program, he painted a Dystopian picture where “film production in Australia is irrelevant from a global perspective and the industry shrinks to a fraction of what it is today.”
In that scenario, he predicted Australians would continue to “participate strongly in the global film industry, but sadly, not at home.”
Basser’s words carry some weight as the head of the Los Angeles-based production banner Village Roadshow Pictures, which co-produces 6-8 Hollywood films a year with Warner Bros. The joint venture produced The Great Gatsby (whose worldwide B.O. total has topped $US300 million), George Miller’s upcoming Fury Road, the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending and Doug Liman’s All You Need is Kill, which stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Charlotte Riley.
By 2018, Village Roadshow Pictures will continue to produce at least $600 million to $800 million worth of films a year for global release, he envisioned.
“Australians will remain at the forefront of the global film production industry – we will continue to be overly represented both in front and behind the camera,” he said.
“The key to ensuring more of our industry leaders are working and making films in Australia rests with whether or not Australia offers a level playing field with the rest of the world.
“Whether or not and to what extent films for global release are produced here in Australia (we have the facilities, crew and talent to compete with the best) will depend significantly on the continuance of the existing Producer Offset and Post Production incentives and, more importantly, a levelling of the playing field for the Location Offset to bring it up to levels equivalent to those offered both within the United States and elsewhere in the world.
“These incentives are not only the way to ensure we have a vibrant international film production industry but ensure that huge economic and social benefits will accrue to both the film industry and Australia generally.”