The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on the film and television industry, as a large number of productions remain shut down due to social distancing guidelines. A handful of productions have been able to begin resuming operations in countries and locations where the virus' spread is more under control -- and it looks like Australia soon hopes to join that list. A new report from Variety reveals that the Australian federal government is going to offer a total of $400 million AUD - or $280 million USD - to foreign film productions that want to film in the country.
“The Location Incentive is an economic multiplier. It will sustain the vitality of Australian screen production and support jobs and local businesses,” federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said.
The "Location Incentive" plan will reportedly provide cash grants over the next seven years. It is just the latest monetary initiative that Australia has put in place, amid the existing Location Offset program (which allows productions to receive rebates for production or post-production work), and a $250 million AUD ($175 million USD) package to boost the country's arts and entertainment sector amid the pandemic. $50 million AUD ($34.4 million USD) of that was delegated to film and television, reportedly for financial guarantees for insurance policies.
Ten upcoming blockbusters have reportedly been able to access $123 million AUD ($86 million USD) of finance under the Location Offset program, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Thor: Love and Thunder. The movement also cites the upcoming Mortal Kombat film as an example of how viable the country can be for film and TV production.
“South Australia has increased its investment in high value international production in recent years, with productions including the state’s biggest ever screen production Mortal Kombat demonstrating the state’s capacity to deliver. Mortal Kombat has provided a strong pipeline of work through the entire South Australia screen sector, including significant work for our world class post production, digital and visual effects companies,” said South Australia’s Minister for Innovation and Skills, David Pisoni. “With South Australia one of the safest places in the world right now, and one of the first places in the world to resume production, the state is ideally placed to take a slice of this new fund in the post-COVID recovery.”
Of course, with Australia's coronavirus cases reportedly surging in recent days, it remains to be seen how and when this plan will ultimately take shape.