Golden start for movie industry with $5.9m to support seven projects

Golden start for movie industry with $5.9m to support seven projects

Australian film productions have received a $5.9 million boost from Screen Australia to support seven major projects, including two feature films.

The move adds to the momentum building in the domestic market for feature films, led over the past year by Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, Ron Howard's Thirteen Lives and the Chris Hemsworth double of Thor: Love and Thunder and Escape from Spiderhead.

The latest funding from Screen Australia will support production of Gold, featuring Zac Efron (pictured) as one of two drifters who stumble across the biggest gold nugget ever found while travelling through the outback.

The second feature film, How to Please a Woman, is a debut feature production for Western Australian writer-director Renée Webster, of The Heights fame.

"It's fantastic to kick off 2021 with such a great sample of the premium dramas that have bee greenlit across the country," says Screen Australia's head of content Sally Caplan.

"It's testament to the resilience of the screen industry to have so many projects move into production during such a challenging period."

The latest support for the film industry follows a federal government commitment last year to provide a $400 million warchest to entice overseas productions to Australia in a bid to support jobs in the industry.

Renee Webster's debut feature film How to Please a Woman is currently in production and the latest funding is set to support a further three television projects.

Spreadsheet, an eight-part series for Viacom CBS. It is among three television production supported by the Screen Australia funding, including Fires, a six-part drama for the ABC inspired by accounts from people who survived the catastrophic fire season of 2019-20, and Frayed, a six-part second season of the comedy-drama for the ABC and Sky Studios.

The funding will also support children's series Dive Club, a 12-part teen mystery drama for Network 10 and Netflix filmed in Port Douglas, and Me and Her(pes), a six-part romantic comedy for YouTube, which follows 20-something overachiever Saffie.

Among the latest overseas productions to make it to Australia are the Amazon Prime series Joe Exotic, starring Nicolas Cage and featuring the lives of the personalities behind Netflix's docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Photo credit: Matt Nettheim

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