Broken Hill considers five offers to develop film studio complex
[Tue 14/08/2012 04:52:35]
By Brendan Swift
The Broken Hill City Council is considering five expressions of interest to develop its fledgling film studio complex 12 months after the departure of major production Fury Road.
Earlier this year, the council called for partners to invest, develop, manage and/or operate all or part of the 2.5 hectare Broken Hill Studios. Broken Hill mayor Wincen Cuy said the council was pleased to receive five submissions and a decision would be made after the current NSW local government elections were completed on September 8.
“We’re at a stage where the tenders have been put in and now we’re just going through the whole process,” Cuy told IF Magazine.
The proposed-$10 million Broken Hill Film Studios, built on a former Central Power Station Site, had received about $2.1 million in funding (including about $1 million from the NSW state government) by early-2011 when it was still working on the assumption that the fourth Mad Max film, Fury Road, would be based at the site.
The production pulled out in August 2011 and is currently being filmed in Namibia. However, production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell has honoured a two-year lease, according to the Broken Hill City Council, which has the ability to sub-lease the space at commercial rates.
The council said Fury Road’s pre-production, as well as the filming of the Amazing Race and other smaller shoots during 2010, injected approximately $2 million into Broken Hill’s economy during that year.
The Broken Hill Studios Project 'expression of interest' document raised several potential opportunities which could build on the existing film studios including: film services, tourist attractions (such as geological mining experience or Mad Max-based tour), a hotel, a casino, convention centre, education facilities, artist studios, or cafe/restaurant/bar.
Many of Australia’s major film studios have struggled to consistently fill their space including New South Wales’ Fox Studios Australia and Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios, particularly as the number of Hollywood productions shooting in Australia has declined as the value of the local currency has risen.
The Victorian-based Docklands Studios Melbourne struggled for a number of years after it was established in 2002. The state government provided it with a loan of $31.5 million to fund its design and construction before the loan was converted to equity in August 2010 because the studios were unable to repay the interest or principal.
However, Docklands chief executive Rod Allan said the performance of the studios has improved substantially since 2009. "The studio is performing better and it's fair to say the studio covers all of its operational costs," he said, noting that it now attracts more local TV and film productions.
The film industry is continuing to lobby the government to raise the Location rebate from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent in an effort to attract more runaway productions. Wolverine is currently shooting at Fox Studios in large part because the government made a one-off payment which effectively raised the Location rebate to the 30 per cent level.
Last year, the South Australian government spent an estimated $48 million to develop its own Adelaide Studios.
Contact this reporter at email@example.com or on Twitter at @bcswift.
[Tue 14/08/2012 04:52:35]