A major research report by the Australian Film Commission (AFC) has concluded that foreign production of film and television drama in Australia is well integrated with the domestic production industry, although a careful balance must be maintained to ensure the continuing success of both sectors.
Foreign Film and Television Drama Production in Australia, released today by the AFC, is a significant study of Australia as a foreign production destination and includes research on employment patterns in the industry and crew experiences and attitudes.
In recent years the role of foreign production in Australia has been controversial and surrounded by conflicting claims and arguments. It was against the background of this debate that the AFC decided to undertake a research project looking at the consequences for the local industry of the growth of the foreign production sector.
"The research highlighted the extent to which the work practices, attitudes and quality of Australian crews and creative talent influences the decision to film in Australia. Economic factors are obviously important, but international producers surveyed unanimously cited our crews as a key drawcard", said AFC Chair, Maureen Barron.
"Australia's willingness and ability to grow the level of foreign production is clearly dependent on a sophisticated, capable domestic industry."
The AFC report explored the reasons why foreign productions come to Australia and investigated the perceptions of crew capacity and depth around Australia. The survey asked about the experience of Australian crew working on foreign productions, and in particular the role of foreign productions in their professional development.
The report is based on a survey of 160 Australians with recent experience on foreign productions and interviews conducted in Los Angeles with US producers who had recently filmed in Australia, as well as crew booking services and other key industry figures.
Speaking at the launch, Andrew Mason - currently producing the Matrix sequels - commented that the development of trust between offshore producers and local heads of department tends to lead to a widening of the pool of talent from which production personnel are being drawn. "Sheer continuity of work means trust is developed and people get to act in more senior roles, and on the next film they move up the production structure", said Mason.
Also speaking at the launch was Dominic Case, Group Technology & Services Manager for Atlab Australia. He talked about the role of post production facilities and infrastructure in attracting foreign production. "Post production facilities in Australia not only provide facilities for local and foreign-financed productions shot here, they also attract work from offshore companies in their own right. The economic reality for Atlab and many other post production facilities is that a steady stream of foreign productions allows them to offer the range and quality of services at affordable rates for lower budget Australian projects."
This report seeks to illuminate the relationship between domestic film and television production and international projects attracted from offshore. It concludes that careful management is needed to reap the economic benefits of foreign production without jeopardising the strength of the local production industry. A healthy local production industry provides great cultural benefits to all Australians and is the foundation on which the foreign production sector can continue to grow.
Foreign Production Report
See other AFC policy documents