News, Culture & Society

Hollywood Down Under ‘may swallow Australia’s local film industry’

Australia became Hollywood Down Under during the years of the pandemic, with  blockbuster film productions generating billions of dollars for the local economy.

Big stars like George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Zac Efron, Chris Hemsworth and Colin Farrell have all made movies in Australia since 2021.

And now there are fears the new Albanese government may be paving the way for Hollywood to swallow up the local industry altogether, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

There are fears that the new Albanese government may be paving the way for Hollywood to swallow up the local industry altogether reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Pictured: A scene from Elvis starring Austin Butler and filmed in Queensland

Triggering the concern amongst local filmmakers is research for a new cultural policy.

Calling for submissions, the government appears to no longer be prioritising Australian stories.

It asks filmmakers to consider, ‘the centrality of the artist: supporting the artist as a worker and celebrating their role as the creators of culture’.

Calling for submissions to support the development of a new cultural policy the government appears to no longer be prioritising Australian stories Picture: Chris Hemsworth in Spiderhead

Calling for submissions to support the development of a new cultural policy the government appears to no longer be prioritising Australian stories Picture: Chris Hemsworth in Spiderhead

In 2013 the national cultural policy set a goal to ‘support excellence and the special role of artists…as the source of original work and ideas, including telling Australian stories’.

A Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts spokesman said in the The Sydney Morning Herald report that the call-out for submissions was a way of creating a debate about cultural policy.

Local filmmaker Leonie Marsh told the publication that the government needed to clearly define ‘Australianess and Australian stories.’

Filmmaker George Miller: his Mad Max films are the only Hollywood backed blockbusters made here with any strong cultural connection to Australia

Filmmaker George Miller: his Mad Max films are the only Hollywood backed blockbusters made here with any strong cultural connection to Australia

‘Otherwise it will be others, like Hollywood, that will do it for us, with potentially vested interests that don’t represent our cultural values as a nation,’ she said.

Sydney producer Emile Sherman, who won an Oscar for The King’s Speech, is part of 15-member panel that will advise the government of the new national cultural policy. 

The news comes after a large slate of Hollywood backed projects – many made under generous tax incentives – have been completed in Australia since 2020. 

A scene from Thirteen Lives - Directed by famed American filmmaker Ron Howard and filmed in Queensland, the AU$79million deals with the dramatic Tham Luang cave rescue of 2018

A scene from Thirteen Lives – Directed by famed American filmmaker Ron Howard and filmed in Queensland, the AU$79million deals with the dramatic Tham Luang cave rescue of 2018

The productions provided thousands of jobs to local cast and crew.

These include the Amazon Prime Video drama Thirteen Lives starring Joel Edgerton and Viggo Mortensen.

Directed by famed American filmmaker Ron Howard and filmed in Queensland, the AU$79million deals with the dramatic Tham Luang cave rescue of 2018.

Superstar Chris Hemsworth completed two blockbusters Down Under since 2021: Thor: Blood and Thunder, made in Sydney and the Netflix thriller, Spiderhead, filmed in Queensland

Superstar Chris Hemsworth completed two blockbusters Down Under since 2021: Thor: Blood and Thunder, made in Sydney and the Netflix thriller, Spiderhead, filmed in Queensland

Superstar Chris Hemsworth completed two blockbusters Down Under since 2021: Thor: Blood and Thunder, made in Sydney and the Netflix thriller, Spiderhead, filmed in Queensland.

In 2021 George Clooney and Julia Roberts filmed Ticket to Paradise with $6.4million from the Australian government as part of a location incentive program.

Meanwhile, Baz Luhrmann proudly re-created US locations in Queensland in the last two years, including Memphis and Las Vegas, for his Hollywood produced Elvis bio pic.

The only Hollywood backed blockbusters of recent years with any Australian content are George Miller’s Mad Max films: Fury Road (2015), which was made in Africa and Sydney; and its prequel Furiosa, now filming in Broken Hill, NSW. Both are set in a post-Apocalyptic Australia.

The Federal Government in 2020 injected $400 million into the Location Incentive Grant to lure filmmakers to Australia at the height of the pandemic. 

The Federal Government in 2020 injected $400 million into the Location Incentive Grant to lure filmmakers to Australia at the height of the pandemic. Pictured: A scene from Elvis starring Austin Butler and filmed in Queensland

The Federal Government in 2020 injected $400 million into the Location Incentive Grant to lure filmmakers to Australia at the height of the pandemic. Pictured: A scene from Elvis starring Austin Butler and filmed in Queensland

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk