Jonathan M. Shiff series and Steve Jaggi film herald Queensland production re-start

Julian Cullen and Kimie Tsukakoshi in ‘The Bureau of Magical Things.’ (Photo credit: Mark Taylor)

Screen production in Queensland is set to restart with the second season of Jonathan M. Shiff Productions’ The Bureau of Magical Things and a rom-com feature from the Steve Jaggi Company.

The cameras will roll on Shiff’s children’s fantasy, which was shut down in March, on June 29 on the Gold Coast.

On the same day, Jaggi and director Christine Luby will begin shooting This Little Love of Mine in Cairns. Scripted by Georgia Harrison, it’s a co-production with Nicely Entertainment, an LA-based distribution and production company recently launched by former Gaumont exec Vanessa Shapiro.

Jaggi is producing with Kelly Son Hing and Spencer McLaren; the cast will be announced next week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Shiff’s 20-part series is employing more than 200 cast and crew and injecting more than $8.5 million into the State’s economy. Jaggi’s film will create 25 local jobs and spend more than $1.5 million.

Network 10, German broadcaster ZDF and Nickelodeon commissioned season two , with investment from ZDF Enterprises, Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.

Kimie Tsukakoshi returns as Kyra, a teenager with magical powers, as she and Darra (Julian Cullen) embark on a quest to find a legendary lost temple.

On the first block of 10 episodes Evan Clarry and Martha Goddard had finished shooting 30 of the 43 days scheduled before the production shut down.

So they will complete shooting that block in the coming weeks, followed by the second block directed by Grant Brown.

Palaszczuk acknowledged the screen industry had been hit hard by COVID-19. Her government responded by creating a $3.3 million support package and forming a Queensland screen industry task force.

“As well as focussing on local productions, we’ve also been working to ensure major international productions can return to the State,” she said.

The Premier said Hoodlum Entertainment aims to get season three of the ABC’s Harrow back into production in the next few months. That is contingent on the federal government granting a waiver on travel restrictions to bring back star Ioan Gruffudd from LA.

Her government is also working closely with Baz Luhrmann and his production team to resume production on the untitled Elvis Presley biopic at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.

“We want to ensure this can happen as soon as possible while making sure the cast and crew can operate safely,” Palaszczuk added.

The start date on the Warner Bros production was postponed after Tom Hanks, who plays Colonel Tom Parker, and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19.

Hanks and Austin Butler, who plays Elvis, both returned to the US, so the producers will need special dispensation to bring them back.

Screen Queensland and Queensland Health are developing a screen industry COVID-safe plan, which will be released shortly.