ACT Government announces new production facility

Screen Canberra CEO Monica Penders and Academy of Interactive Entertainment chairman and CEO John De Margheriti.

The ACT Government is taking steps to attract more productions to the nation’s capital, announcing more than $800,000 for a new sound stage and virtual production studio in Canberra.

Delivered in conjunction with the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, the facility will be retrofitted onto an existing structure at a location to be determined.

It comes after the government committed $500,000 in the 2020-21 budget to establish the Canberra Screen Attraction Fund pilot scheme, offering location incentives of up to 10 per cent for productions that spend more than $2 million in the ACT.

Screen Canberra CEO Monica Penders told IF the studio space would allow the city to build on the success of productions, such as Secret City, Blacklight, and Total Control.

“There are three things we are aiming for,” she said.

“If I had my way, there would be much more Canberran IP up on screens and that is something we are working toward.

“The next tier is the national level, which is productions like the second series of Total Control, as well Secret City and The Code.

“And then we did Blacklight, which is a large international production. We want varying projects.”

AIE Chairman and CEO John De Margheriti said the facility will cement Canberra as the new go-to destination for virtual production in Australia.

“This funding is going to complement AIE’s investment in establishing a large virtual production studio. In cooperation with Screen Canberra, our facility will attract additional investment into the region,” he said.

“We will generate and retain more film jobs that will build up a specialised skill-base in Canberra.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says that these types of investments helped create opportunities in new and emerging industries.

“The development of a sound stage and virtual production studio will further boost growth in our creative industries, helping to enhance Canberra’s growing reputation in the industry,” he said.

The government hopes to have the studio up and running by the end of the year.