Post houses to benefit from $140 million top-up to the Location Offset
‘Aquaman.’ (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)
Australia’s post and VFX houses will be major beneficiaries of the federal government’s $140 million Location Incentive Program.
According to the guidelines released today, eligible productions must utilise the services of one or more Australian post, digital or visual effects providers.
In May the government announced the grant of $140 million over four years, starting with productions that shoot in Australia after July 1.
While the industry has welcomed the release of the guidelines, some executives expressed concern about the six to eight weeks specified to assess applications followed by one to three weeks for negotiating and awarding the grant.
They fear that several offshore productions that have been considering shooting here are not prepared to wait that long. They hope the times quoted are a buffer and the actual process will be much quicker.
To qualify, productions must meet the eligibility criteria for the Location Offset (including a qualifying Australian spend of at least $15 million or $1 million an hour for TV projects) and secure support from relevant state or territory governments.
Funding of $35 million per year will be provided each year starting on July 1 2019. The guidelines state TV productions for subscription or cable services will qualify. Each grant will be up to a maximum of 13.5 per cent of the production’s qualifying Australian production expenditure, to the limit of program’s funds available in any financial year.
The government said the objective is to ensure that Australia remains competitive in attracting large budget international film and television productions, thereby providing opportunities for Australian cast, crew, post-production companies and other screen production service providers.
It said the program will contribute to the development of the Australian screen production industry’s capabilities and help ensure its future viability. It expects that, on average, two to three large budget international productions will be supported each year to undertake filming in Australia.
Ausfilm CEO Debra Richards hailed the incentive as a welcome relief to the Australian screen industry, bringing much needed jobs and utilising Australia’s crew, actors, screen services, facilities and businesses, particularly with the inclusion of engaging Australian post and VFX companies.
“It also acknowledges that the government sees the importance of bringing new money into the Australian screen industry and broader economy. There are many international companies who will apply and we look forward to new production and post production coming to our shores soon,” she told IF.
Richards has said said she expects the initiative will attract an additional $200 million in production value annually.
Large-scale international productions contributed more than $600 million in direct investment to the Australian economy in fiscal 2017.
Richards noted that Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok and Alien: Covenant locationed in Australia thanks to federal government top-ups, productions which would otherwise have gone elsewhere.