/Media Releases 01.11.17


1st November 2017, Sydney – Screen industry body, Ausfilm says thanks to the 29 foreign productions working in Australia, this international investment and activity has catapulted total expenditure on film and television in Australia to a record year in 2016/17.

Screen Australia’s annual survey of drama production in Australia released 31st of October shows a total of $610 million was spent in Australia on foreign feature and television drama projects that undertook physical production in Australia, or were shot elsewhere, but did post-production and digital visual effects (PDV) work in Australia.  This compares favourably to  2015/16’s spend of $279 million on foreign physical production and $104 million spend on foreign Post, Digital and Visual effects (PDV) in Australia.

Jackie Chan in Bleeding Steel ©HEYI Pictures

In 2016/17 foreign productions shooting in Australia included the US titles Thor: Ragnarok, Aquaman and Pacific Rim: Uprising, along with the Jackie Chan thriller Bleeding Steel, releasing in China on 22 December, 2017. Foreign television series shooting in Australia included The Leftovers season 3 (US) and Speed (China). It was also a record year for Australian post and visual effects businesses working on 34 foreign productions, up 18% on 2015/16 with a $123 million total project spend.

“This represents foreign direct investment in the Australian economy, creating thousands of jobs and providing businesses across Australia with new sources of revenue and innovation. It also contributes to developing skills and training opportunities of Australia’s crews and provides a major development opportunity for creative Australian screen talent,” said Debra Richards, CEO of Ausfilm.

Director Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth on set for Thor: Ragnarok ©Marvel Studios 2017

Projects doing post, sound, music and visual effects work include films like Alien: Covenant and Thor: Ragnarok, which was shot in Australia, as well as projects that shot elsewhere such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, John Wick: Chapter 2, Black Panther, Ghost in the Shell, A Wrinkle in Time, and television series such as Game of Thrones season 7.

“The value of footloose production globally is enormous and provides a real opportunity for the Australian screen industry and its associated businesses to build new infrastructure, create and increase new jobs and develop highly skilled technical talent.  But competition is fierce and growing.

“One of the ways productions are attracted to Australia is through Ausfilm’s familiarisation location scouting program. It was instrumental in attracting 20th Century Fox’s Alien: Covenant and HBO’s critically acclaimed TV series The Leftovers,” said Richards.

Sir Ridley Scott filming Alien: Covenant ©Twentieth Century Fox

Zareh Nalbandian, Co-founder and CEO of Animal Logic and Deputy Chair of Ausfilm, and currently in production on Peter Rabbit said “If you ask any of the leading Australian screen businesses, such as Rising Sun Pictures, Fox Studios Australia or Village Roadshow Studios, they will tell you that foreign production is vital for their business and also supports the delicate ecosystem of the domestic Australian film industry.

“It has been a record year thanks to foreign productions. Australia has great advantages in screen production expertise and infrastructure that attracts foreign investment. Also crucial is the Australian Government screen production incentives. Top-ups to the existing Location Offset have enabled Australia to compete more effectively against other filmmaking territories. Without a globally competitive Offset, international production and the investment and jobs it brings to Australia, could disappear. But we are increasingly missing out on some major opportunities and growth of the industry because of the current Location Offset level and lack of certainty to the Location Offset top-ups.

“In this internationally competitive landscape Ausfilm’s 34 corporate members, who are the best in the Australian screen business, continue to advocate for a permanent increase to the Australian Government’s Location Offset from 16.5% to 30%. Attracting more international projects will only further enhance the positioning of Australia as a world-class filming destination,” Nalbandian said.

Recently Ausfilm led its annual delegation of film and television businesses and Australian government representatives to Los Angeles for its 9th annual Ausfilm Week (15 – 20 October) to ensure Australia continues to be considered for international productions shooting outside of the US. Ausfilm had its biggest business delegation on record in 2017, featuring 19 film industry businesses and six federal and state government agencies and a total of over 42 Australian representatives attending the week of events.

Ausfilm Week connects the Australian film and television industry to the US production community, and showcases Australia as one of the world’s best filming locations and destinations for post-production and visual effects.

Stephen Oh, XM2 CEO launching the Sierra 70 kilo drone camera

This year Ausfilm Week featured its inaugural Innovation Series with Melbourne owned and based UAV cinematography company, Xm2 Media, launching its ground-breaking Sierra 70 kilo drone camera. Every two months Xm2 launch a “first in the world” UAV product such as multi-headed camera UAVs or LIDAR and photogrammetry for VFX departments. Xm2 Media have worked on Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales; and currently working in the USA on Westworld season 2.

Media Enquiries:

Rachelle Gibson
Director of Marketing & Industry Partnerships
T: + 61 2 9383 4191
E: [email protected]

Picture credit: Ausfilm CEO, Debra Richards and Xm2 CEO, Stephen Oh.