9 November 2020

Southeast NSW towns and residents to hit the big screen

| Hannah Sparks
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Billy Connolly in boat in The Man Who Sued God.

The Man Who Sued God, starring Billy Connolly (left), was filmed in Bermagui on the NSW South Coast. Photo: IMDb.

People and places in southeast NSW could soon hit the big screen – and reap the economic benefits – as part of a new initiative by Far South Film, South East Arts and Screen NSW.

Far South Film is currently creating a document, commissioned by South East Arts and funded by Screen NSW, to attract large film and television production companies to the region and place local filmmakers in the spotlight.

The Screen Strategy 2021-2024 will promote locations in the region for production companies in Australia and overseas to use as film and television sets. It will also promote local people with relevant skills, such as camera operators, lighting technicians and makeup artists, to work with production companies.

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Another aim of the strategy is to identify opportunities for the local film industry to create more content in the region, such as advertisements for local businesses or tourism bodies.

Piglet and dog from the film, Babe.

The feel-good family movie, Babe, was filmed in Robertson in the NSW Southern Highlands. Photo: HBO.

Meetings are being held in Bega, Malua Bay and Crackenback with key stakeholders associated with the screen industry, to gain input for the strategy. Stakeholders include councils, tourism bodies and operators, chambers of commerce, the music industry, visual and digital artists, and filmmakers.

A survey will also be sent out by Far South Film for other stakeholders in the region to have their say on the strategy.

If successful, the southeast NSW region could tap into a multibillion dollar industry. In 2017-2018, the Australian screen industries generated a total output of more than $22 billion, generating $9 billion in gross value added and 84,982 full-time equivalent jobs.

The strategy will provide a strong business case for funding to support the local film industry, according to Far South Film vice-president Marna Smith.

She said there are already documentaries currently under wraps, but being made in southeast NSW.

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“This is a seminal moment in the film industry of Australia and it’s important that our region is well represented in future film development plans,” said Ms Smith. “Australia, with its peerless variety of locations, excellent technical skills base and world-class talent bank, is considered on a global scale to be a viable and safe filming destination.

“It is an opportune time to assess the current state of our region’s film/screen industry and plan a pathway for its future growth.”

The Screen Strategy 2021-2024 will be delivered to South East Arts at the end of 2020.

Filmmakers and content creators living and working in the region can subscribe to Far South Film’s email list to receive the survey that will be sent out in late November. To subscribe, visit Far South Film.

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