Production company WildBear Entertainment has been deemed among the country’s top exporters, taking home this year’s Australian Export Award for the creative industries.
The ACT-based company was one of 13 national category winners announced on Thursday at the annual awards, presented by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), in collaboration with states and territories.
It’s the first time WildBear has won the prize, having previously been included as a finalist in 2015 and 2016.
In an interview with Austrade, CEO Michael Tear said the honour was “incredibly rewarding and satisfying”.
“I wanted to apply because I felt like the company had done really well and I wanted to share our story,” he said.
“I thought it was a positive story about how important the creative industries are to the Australian economy.”
Formed in 2014, WildBear Entertainment commissions include the BBC, National Geographic, Disney+, Discovery, Netflix, PBS, ZDF/Arte, CCTV, NTV, France Televisions, Mediawan, and Viasat, as well as all of the Australian FTA broadcasters and Foxtel.
In the past two years, the company has produced Kriv Stenders’ Brock Over The Top, Christopher Amos’ Hating Peter Tatchell, and Sally Aitken’s Playing with Sharks, which was selected for this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The pandemic has done little to slow its growth, with international revenue climbing 83 per cent in 2019-20 and total income up 39 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.
WildBear took further steps to broaden its reach earlier this year, appointing former BBC and Nat Geo filmmaker Dr Chadden Hunter as an executive producer and announcing the establishment of the WildBear Aotearoa office in New Zealand.
Tear said exporting has allowed the company to scale up.
“Our international offering has allowed us to build economies of scale into our business,” he said.
“We’ve got a bigger team, and more diverse markets.”