By Brendan Swift
The Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi TV series Terra Nova will be filmed in Queensland from October.
It is a major win as the local industry continues to struggle to attract big-budget offshore projects to Australia with the local currency still trading above US90c.
The last large scale Hollywood production filmed in Queensland (and Australia) was The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader in late-2009, although security concerns in Mexico – Fox's preferred location – was a major factor in its decision to film locally.
While mid-budget Hollywood feature Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was recently shot in Victoria, Australia has lost over $200 million in potential productions in the last 12 months, according to Ausfilm.
Green Lantern was originally slated for Sydney's Fox Studios while Battleship considered Queensland's Warner Roadshow Studios before both productions chose to film in lower cost destinations.
Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts, Anna Bligh, said 80 per cent of the crew, cast and extras working on the Terra Nova's 13 one hour episodes would be Queenslanders.
"My government provided considerable incentives through Screen Queensland to secure this production which, in turn, will generate in excess of $54 million in economic activity and create thousands of jobs," she said in a statement.
The series will be shot in South East Queensland including Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.
It follows the Spielberg-produced TV mini-series The Pacific, which was filmed in Queensland and Victoria in 2007, and last month received 24 Emmy Award nominations.
Terra Nova is set in a future when the world is dying from overdevelopment and overcrowding. As a last resort scientists find a way to go back to prehistoric Earth to try and undo the damage that has been caused.
Twentieth Century Fox Television executive vice president of production, Jim Sharp, said the production will look like no other television series.
"Queensland had the right look, climate and terrain, a vibrant production community and attractive economic incentives. We are very excited to be shooting our first production there."
Screen Queensland chief executive Maureen Barron said the agency hosted a number of scouts with the producers and worked hard to promote Queensland as the filming location.
"There is the possibility the series may go into a second season which would hopefully bring additional production to Queensland."