Is Covid-19 changing Australia's place in the global film industry?

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Author: Saacha Neilson
Date: May 10, 2021

One of the only certain things these days is that covid regulations can change at any moment. But despite the chaos, the Australian film industry could stand to prosper over the next few years, as low case numbers and generous government incentives present an enticing location for film crews around the world.

Currently, all media productions and broadcasts are able to go ahead although of course restrictions are in place to ensure everyone’s safety. These restrictions do not differ noticeably from other workplaces. A Covid Safe plan must be at the ready, you must have the contact details for anyone on site for more than 15 minutes, and anyone experiencing symptoms must have a test and stay quarantined until they receive the result.

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Of course, Australia’s current Covid status is very different from the rest of the world. Our comparatively low case numbers, when paired with a government incentive to film in Australia has made us a desirable location for films and tv shows. 

We are starting to see the first of what could be many productions moving down under to avoid highly restrictive regulations in their own countries. American drama La Brea is an example of this changed filming scene, as the shoot has moved to Melbourne to replicate downtown LA. Overall, some are estimating an “injection of just over one billion into the sector, with almost 18,500 jobs generated”.

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This is in part due to the difficult restrictions placed on film crews in the US. Regulations placed limit the number of people allowed on set, control the amount of spacing and how often each surface must be sanitised. 

However, certain allowances are being made as more and more of the American population is becoming vaccinated. Fully vaccinated crews and studio audiences are becoming more of a possibility. This could mean that, as Australia’s vaccine roll out struggles, the estimated financial injection in Australia’s video production may be less than predicted. 

For any of us working in video production, all we can do for now is keep working and keep our colleagues as safe as possible, with the hope that this could be a game changing time for the Australian film industry.

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