Natalie Portman. (Image: Gage Skidmore)

The NSW production sector has received a welcome boost amid the ongoing Greater Sydney lockdown, with the news that HBO Films’ Days of Abandonment, starring Natalie Portman, will commence filming in the state this month.

The adaption of Elena Ferrante’s novel has received a $3.4 million grant via the Federal Government’s Location Incentive Program, with the expectation it will inject more than $25 million into the local economy and create more than 200 jobs for cast and crew.

The production, which will shoot in Sydney and regional parts of the state, is also being supported through the NSW Government’s Made in NSW Fund.

Adapted for the screen by Maggie Betts, who is also directing, the story follows Tess (Portman), a woman who abandoned her own dreams for a stable home life, and in turn, is abandoned by her husband. As a result, her world is thrown off axis. The cast also includes Rafe Spall (Long Story Short) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds).

Betts executive produces with Sophie Mas for MountainA, Celine Rattray of Maven Screen Media, and Len Amato for Crash & Salvage.

In a statement, the EPs said they looked forward to a successful production.

“We are very appreciative to have the opportunity to safely film in Australia alongside the talented people who live and work in the country,” they said.

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin said securing Days of Abandonment cemented NSW’s place as Australia’s film production powerhouse. 

“NSW is the creative heart of Australia, employing 56 per cent of the people in our screen industry and there is no better place for the production of this feature film,” he said. 

“This production will showcase the talent and expertise of our incredibly talented actors, producers, and crew to showcase, and at the same time stimulate our local economy by bringing jobs right across the trades, hospitality, and transport sectors who support them.” 

The government has so far distributed $224 million under the Location Incentive to attract 24 productions to Australia, including NBCUniversal drama La Brea, Ticket to Paradise, season two of The Wilds, Australian Survivor, The Tourist, Thirteen Lives, Escape From Spiderhead, Pieces of Her, Blacklight, Irreverent, Joe Exotic and Young Rock.

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1 Comment

  1. ok … so I guess I am missing something… how is this film showcasting our talented “producers” ?

    … there are no Aussie producers listed on the crew…
    on a good day there might be a line producer or a production manager… but nobody who will earn any IP income from the show.

    … and as a farm-out / runaway production, it would seem all the attached leads are American.

    Clearly the Arts Minister clearly has no idea what producers do, and that local producers / production companies will NOT see any benefit from this. Instead, NSW producers and production companies (as long cycle project based &/or freelance entities), are going broke as they are not entitled to any of the Covid support packages, especially true if they happened to have been on the “development / no income” end of an income cycle on June 30, 2020, so unable to reach the turnover thresholds.

    Local Film Sector – screwed over again.

    Give the same amount of money to local cinema exhibitors, who could then use the money to provide presales/MG’s which could be used to trigger the offset … then we would see local producers/production companies benefit … and have long term IP income which would get distributed back to local cast and creative talent royalties and develop new projects.

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