Film Victoria hits record year

Film Victoria today announced that the Victorian screen industry has surged ahead in 2007/08, recording its largest production expenditure ever of $262 million. This is an 80% increase in the last 12 months. This jump in activity meant that 7,862 full-time employment opportunities were also created in the industry during the year.

A wealth of home-grown and international documentaries, feature films, television drama, short films and digital media projects are responsible for the dramatic increase in production expenditure.

Sandra Sdraulig, Film Victoria CEO, elaborated on the pleasing results, “We’re proud to say that our funding programs leveraged $205 million of the total production expenditure in 2007/08, compared with $94 million the previous year. We also leveraged 78% of the total job opportunities created through production activity, which is well above our five year average of 69%.

“This significant growth indicates the success of Film Victoria’s responsiveness to shifting industry needs, with the full spectrum of our programs being leveraged to deliver engaging projects to diverse audiences.”

Film Victoria estimates that at least 57 film, television and digital media productions were created in Victoria in 2007/08 capitalising on the state’s world-class facilities, expertise and locations. Amongst these projects was significant production expenditure in television.

“Two years ago, the Victorian government initiated a $4.4 million television stimulation package and over the last 12 months $150 million of total production spend came from television projects that were supported through our programs. This includes productions such as Bed of Roses, Elephant Princess, Bogan Pride and Carla Cametti,” explained Ms Sdraulig.

Adding to the success of local projects, Victorians also played host to two major international productions; Steven Spielberg’s miniseries The Pacific and feature film Knowing, starring Nicholas Cage. Both productions provided local practitioners with invaluable employment opportunities and hands-on industry experience. Combined, Knowing and The Pacific created over 3,000 jobs and brought $125 million to the State’s economy.

Significantly, production investment commitments totalled $5.8 million in 2007/08; a 45% increase in funding compared with 2006/07. “We also committed development funding for film television and digital media projects worth over $2 million. As these projects move through the production cycle, we look forward to seeing the value of this investment come to fruition over the coming years,” explained Ms. Sdraulig.

Ms Sdraulig moved on to address the success of the digital media sector, “From a Film Victoria perspective our aim is to strengthen Victoria as Australia’s centre for digital content creation. Investments in Digital Media Scoping, Prototyping and Business Support totalled more than $1.1 million, and we’re pleased to say that project commercialisation returned nearly 16% of this amount – a very strong result for the industry.”

Deserving a special mention is the huge success of Film Victoria’s Regional Location Assistance Fund (RLAF), an incentive aimed at encouraging productions to utilise the beauty and flexibility of provincial Victoria as a filming destination. In 2007/08 RLAF drove more than $3.9 million in production expenditure to provincial communities throughout Victoria. Local productions such as Bed of Roses, starring Kerry Armstrong, contributed enormously to the 240% increase in regional
production activity since 2006/07.

“When reflecting on the 2007/08 financial year, it’s terrific to see the way the industry has embraced new opportunities and re-set the benchmark for activity in Victoria. Such a significant increase is testament to the skill and determination of local businesses and practitioners, who play a crucial role in driving industry growth.

“We are thrilled to end the financial year on such a high note and look forward to seeing how our 2008/09 investment continues to support and encourage a highly creative and motivated industry,” concluded Ms. Sdraulig.

[Release by Film Victoria]