An artist's impression of the new FNQ studio facility.

A location has been confirmed for Screen Queensland’s new production facility in Far North Queensland, with the studio to be built on a 6,500 square metre building site just outside the Cairns CBD.

Construction will commence early next year on the facility at the corner of Spence and Fearnley Streets, which is set to house a sound stage and support facilities, including production offices, construction, wardrobe, and hair and makeup departments, along with an events space and permanent creative tenancy opportunities.

The $6.8 million studio forms part of the Queensland Government’s plan to grow the screen industry in Far North Queensland, having appointed Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Musgrave, Curtis Pitt, as FNQ Screen Champion earlier this year.

Pitt said he was pleased to see the project reach the next stage.

“After months of planning, stakeholder roundtables, and industry consultation, led by Screen Queensland and working with CQ University, I am pleased to announce that a site has been chosen and construction is set to commence in early in 2022,” he said.

“This studio is ideally located five minutes from the CBD, 13 minutes from the airport and with excellent access to the southern corridor highway.

“Far North Queensland is famed in the industry for its picture-perfect tropical and coastal locations, so the construction of this state-of-the-art facility will provide much-needed infrastructure to cater to the creative and logistical needs of local and visiting productions.”

FNQ is home to Lone Star Productions, the team behind the NITV and SBS food and travel program Strait to the Plate, as well as cinematographers BioPixel and BioQuest, who worked on David Attenborough’s Life In Colour.

The small coastal town of Mission Beach is also housing production on Matchbox Pictures and NBCUniversal International Studios’ Irreverent, which follows an American crook who screws up a heist and is forced to hide out in Far North Queensland, where he poses as a church Reverend.

Other productions to be based in region include This Little Love of Mine, and Network 10/Netflix series Dive Club, which filmed in Port Douglas.

Screen Queensland head of studios Derek Hall said the facility would function as a vital creative hub for the city of Cairns and FNQ.

“The Implementation Committee is working with architects and designers to create a facility that is multi-purpose and supports collaboration, serving the needs of a wide variety of local screen creatives and the wider artistic and cultural community in general,” he said.

“With this new complex in Cairns, Screen Queensland will soon be operating a network of studios across the state – that’s massive for Queensland and an exciting opportunity for local crew and creatives to have such a facility in their own backyard.”

The studio is expected to be operational by mid-2022.

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