The Australian filmmaking industry has gone through a series of ups and downs after experiencing what is considered its Golden Age from the 1970s to the 1980s.
And while the local film industry has not experienced remarkable and consistent successes after its Golden Age, of late, Australia has been identified as a clear gainer in the world of film. In fact, even with the global pandemic inevitably putting some Hollywood projects to a halt, Australia continues to revel in its role as a choice location for American film and television productions.
Here, we’ll delve deeper into what factors have catapulted Australia into the center stage of filmmaking and why it continues to prosper even during these troubled times.
For sure, Australia is no stranger to being the location of choice for many big-budget Hollywood films, such as The Matrix trilogy, old and new Mad Max films, Star Wars, Babe, Mission Impossible 2, Finding Nemo, Moulin Rouge, Wolverine, Aquaman, The Lake House, The Piano, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and The Great Gatsby.
In 2019 and 2020, a number of American features were also shot in Australia, while others undertook post, digital and visual effects (PDV) production work. These include the following films:
- Hotel Mumbai
- Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Children of the Corn
- Godzilla vs. Kong
- Mortal Kombat
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold
- The Invisible Man
- Love and Monsters
- Black Widow (PDV)
- Candyman (PDV)
- The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (PDV)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (PDV)
- Space Jam: A New Legacy (PDV)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PDV)
Nine Perfect Strangers, a Hulu series starring Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, and Luke Evans set for release this 2021, was shot around Byron Bay, New South Wales.
Some Hollywood films that started shooting last year and well into 2021 or that began filming in Australia this 2021 include the following:
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- Ticket to Paradise
- Thirteen Lives
- Escape From Spiderhead
- Elvis biopic (Baz Luhrmann)
The Amazon Original/ABC Signature series The Wilds Season 2, starring Rachel Griffiths, has also started filming on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, the Amazon series based on the Netflix Tiger King documentary on Joe Exotic is set to film in Queensland, with Nicolas Cage in the title role.
Amid the pandemic, the Australian film industry continued to experience growth with the large number of major film and television projects in the pipeline.
Elements of success
There are several reasons behind the ongoing growth and success of the Australian movie industry. Some of the major factors behind this include:
1. Australia’s successful management of the pandemic
While the country’s COVID-19 cases peaked from July to August last year, the federal and state governments’ swift and efficient policies designed to control and minimize the spread of the new coronavirus helped curb the growth in the number of COVID cases.
With safety policies in place, including Safe Work Australia regulations, the Australian government has been able to keep COVID-19 case numbers remarkably low. The monitored and safe filming environments offered in various Australian states and territories continue to attract major international film and television production outfits for their location shoots.
2. Diverse and unique landscapes
The vast number of picture-perfect Australian natural landscapes have caught many a filmmaker’s eye, leading them to capture the rugged beauty of the Land Down Under and sharing it with the rest of the world.
Iconic films like Gallipoli (starring Mel Gibson) and Mad Max: Fury Road (starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy) and blockbuster movies like the Pacific Rim series have all showcased the diversity of the Australian landscape.
3. Experienced and talented local cast and crew
Australia is a treasure trove of local artists and creative production crew that have had plenty of experience with international film productions. Hollywood film and television producers have an easy time sourcing talented local actors and actresses and the crew they need to meet their creative and business goals.
Of course, Australia’s long list of famous homegrown talent, such as Nicole Kidman, the Hemsworth brothers, Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Purcell, Mia Wasikowska, Anna Torv, Joel Edgerton, and the late Errol Flynn, have all made big names for themselves in Hollywood.
4. International screen production incentives
The Australian Government’s Location Incentive program is meant to attract back-to-back productions and ensure a large pipeline of work for the Australian film industry. It complements the federal government’s existing Location Offset, which provides a tax offset rate of 30 percent for eligible big-budget international productions filming in Australia.
Safe haven for actors
Aside from being a choice location for various international film and television projects, some American actors now call Australia home. Zac Efron, Melissa McCarthy, and Matt Damon have all been spending considerable time staying in the country.
Indeed, these are great times for the Australian film and television sector.
So, be on the lookout for more movies and television series set to be filmed in the Land Down Under.
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Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses AU.