Victoria launches $121 million screen fund for local-led film, TV and games projects

Victoria launches $121 million screen fund for local-led film, TV and games projects

Eric Bana in The Dry.

As Hollywood flocks to Australia for its relative COVID-safe normality, expertise and enticing government incentives, calls have been growing for greater support of Australian creative talent  to avoid an exodus of local screenwriters and directors.

An announcement today from the Victorian Government is taking steps in that direction so that Australia's burgeoning screen industry continues to attract global productions, but also fosters local stories and perspectives and not just American-led narratives. 

The state government has today unveiled VICSCREEN, investing a record $120.7 million as part of a $191.5 million four-year strategy to put Victoria at the forefront of the global screen entertainment boom.

For the state that holds the honour of having filmed and screened the world's first ever multi-reel, feature-length film The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906, the screen strategy announced today marks the first in more than a decade for Victoria, aimed at supercharging film, television, and digital games projects and creating more jobs.

The strategy is set to support more than 40,000 jobs and inject more than $1.2 billion back into the Victorian economy. As well as growing screen jobs, it will strengthen screen businesses, foster homegrown talent, and bring more local content to screens worldwide.

It is a strategy that will build on the recent success of local productions such as The Dry, the $46 million expansion at Docklands Studios Melbourne with a sixth sound stage, and the $40 million transformation of our screen museum at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

With a focus on supporting diversity and inclusion on screen and behind the scenes, VICSCREEN actions include the new Victorian Production Fund that will boost the production of Victorian-led film, television, online and digital games content and a new creators lab, with the first set of projects focused on premium drama.

"The reputation of our screen industry is world-class and through VICSCREEN we will grow jobs, foster local talent and put Victorian projects on the map," says Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.

"Films like The Dry, filmed in Victoria's Wimmera region, show us how powerful local story-telling can be. This strategy will give even more Victorian stories a chance to shine."

"We have an enormous pool of talent here in Victoria and this strategy will build on our strengths and position the industry for growth for decades to come."

There is also a focus on training in innovative digital sectors such as visual effects, games and animation. to make sure the state has the right skills to stay ahead of the curve as its screen workforce grows.

More international screen businesses like animation house Princess Bento Studio and games studio Sledgehammer Games will be attracted to set up in Victoria, while also supporting local businesses to develop their commercial capabilities and global connections.

Blockbuster productions remain a focus through the expansion of the Victorian Screen Incentive, which seeks to attract international and interstate film, television, and games projects to the state, creating a pipeline of secure work for local screen workers and specialist businesses.

Cinema lovers will also get a look in with continued support for screen events and festivals including revitalising Melbourne International Film Festival to propel it into a new era, with a stronger international profile.

ACMI will build on its success with Story of the Moving Image and continue its work developing new drawcard exhibitions and activities for audiences of all ages.

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