Audit Commission’s furphy on film incentive

The National Commission of Audit’s proposal to cease the $20 million international film incentives program is a nonsense.

An initiative of the former Labor Government, the $20 million was a one-off payment to attract offshore production and was never going to be perpetuated by the current Government.

Besides, the money has been spent, or at least committed, to three films. Angelina Jolie’s drama Unbroken is in post-production and will be released by Universal in the US on December 25 and in Australia on January 8.

The Moon and the Sun, a fantasy adventure starring Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Fan Bing Bing and Benjamin Walker, is shooting in Melbourne after locationing in France, directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Bratz, Raise Your Voice) .

San Andreas, an action-thriller starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario, is in production at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.

“The money has been committed,” one film industry executive tells IF. “The scheme was dead. The Commission of Audit has given it another funeral.”

Significantly, the Commission made no mention of the $21.6 million which the previous Government offered The Walt Disney Co. as an incentive to film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo Down Under.

Production was postponed after David Fincher, who was set to direct the 3D film based on the Jules Verne classic novel, departed.

Last year Disney assured the government the project was still in active development and it would be produced in Australia. So that deal is intact: Disney will be counting on it.