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How Queensland will take centre stage as Coast sets sights on streaming giants

Culture

Queensland will double-down to become a global powerhouse producing international TV shows and original series for streaming giants like Netflix and Stan, with the flip side of the strategy to take more Queensland stories to an international audience.

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As Hollywood, Bollywood and international big-budget productions eye Queensland as a COVID-contained safe haven to revive the global film industry, the state is also expected to become the new home for a number of “high-end” original series for the small screen.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said major television series were among productions likely to be heading soon to Queensland.

“We’re certainly working to attract productions from streaming services to our state and now there are more streaming services than ever, which means hopefully that there is more opportunity,” Munnich told InQueensland.

She said the Gold Coast and Queensland stood to benefit from the pent-up demand for new shows that could result in Queensland’s sound stages being filled to capacity.

“Screen production needs to happen because every broadcaster and every streaming service in the world needs new content, so if we can take advantage of that by having a safe destination for production to take place, then it’s a win for us,” Munnich said.

“I think the timing is great for us in terms of taking advantage of the need for studio space, of the need for a safe destination for production, and of our reputation globally in the screen industry,” she said.

But as well as rolling out the welcome mat, Screen Queensland will use its muscle as industry leader of one of the world’s most sought-after production destinations to push for quotas for Australian content on all media platforms, including streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

Munnich said the $400 million that was recently announced by the Federal Government to attract big-budget international productions to Australia was “one prong that is needed in a really healthy and well-regulated industry.”

The volume of Australian stories to be screened on all media needed to be bolstered as well as incentives for foreign filmmakers to make films in Australia, she said.

“We stand in support of quotas for our local industry. We think the cultural and economic arguments are absolutely sound as for why Australian stories should be on Australian screens and on international screens.

“We are very proud of Queensland storytellers and Australian storytellers and we believe there is an export market for our content as well. We want to see that content taken to the world.”

Munnich said that meant extending requirements for more Australian content on Australian screens, and not just for local broadcasters.

“We want to see quotas for documentary, drama and kids content onto streamers as well, not just the local commercial broadcasters,” she said.

Munnich said the influx of international productions to Queensland would be a shot of adrenaline for the local industry and “bounty of talent here” that could translate to more high-end local productions.

“I think it’s all part of the same ecosystem. International productions coming in bring huge amounts of investment, create job opportunities and create upskilling opportunities, and that has a flow on to the national or domestic market as well.

“So, once you are able to give talented people more opportunities to create content and upskill they can then go on to work on domestic productions as well, so it does all feed into each other and creates a healthier and more robust screen industry in Australia and in Queensland.”

The call for quotas to help take more Queensland stories to the world comes as Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic starring Tom Hanks is reportedly expected to resume production on the Gold Coast in October.

Season three of the ABC’s television drama series Harrow is back in production, while the second season of comedy television series The Bureau of Magical Things, that airs in Australia, the US and Germany, is about to shoot on the Gold Coast.

Rom-com feature film This Little Love of Mine, by Brisbane-based The Steve Jaggi Company, wrapped last week in Cairns. Another feature film is already slated to begin production in Cairns.

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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