Award-winning actors and international film producers are gracing the streets of Sydney in even greater numbers, with film production in the local area worth around $50 million in the last year alone.
In 2015–16, the City of Sydney’s film liaison team approved more than 1,300 film and photo shoots across Sydney, including 31 major TV drama series and feature films. The projects combined had an estimated production spend for filming within the city of around $50 million.
City of Sydney CEO, Monica Barone, said the City has streamlined the application process, making filming in the city easier and cementing Sydney’s lead over other Australian cities as a top film location.
“With our stunning harbour and beautiful parks, vibrant streetscapes and hidden laneways, Sydney is the ideal backdrop for local and international films,” Ms Barone said.
“With China set to overtake the US as the biggest movie market, we can expect an increase in the number of Asian film productions in Sydney. This puts the spotlight on the best our city has to offer, attracting interest, tourists and investment that supports jobs and the local economy.
“Our dedicated film liaison officer provides valuable assistance to producers in scouting and securing filming locations, providing local advice on filming in the city and helping to overcome any challenges that may arise.”
Sydney recently hosted megastar Jackie Chan for the filming of Bleeding Steel – the largest budget Chinese production ever to shoot in Australia.
Directed by Leo Zhang, Bleeding Steel is expected to contribute around $20 million to the local economy. It has a production crew of around 230 people, including up to 160 local staff, and local casting agents are contributing up to 200 extras.
The production is also benefiting other industries through employment of local traffic controllers, private security, caterers and transport companies.
Ms Barone said international film production is a great way to promote Sydney to visitors across the world and provides a huge boost for the local economy.
“Cast and crew stay in Sydney hotels, dine in local restaurants, visit our many wonderful tourism attractions and shop at our local stores and markets,” she said.
“Fans also flock to the city to follow in the footsteps of celebrities, visit the sites of their favourite scenes and experience for themselves the very best that Sydney has to offer.”
Fox Studios Australia, one of the largest studio facilities in the southern hemisphere, is also in the City of Sydney local government area.
In recent years, it has been the production site for several national and international films including Alien: Covenant, Hacksaw Ridge, The Great Gatsby, Truth, God’s of Egypt, Unbroken, The Wolverine, Mao's Last Dancer; The Matrix trilogy, Mission Impossible 2, Star Wars Episodes II and III, and Superman Returns.
Figures from Screen NSW show that NSW remains the dominant state for screen production, with more than 60 per cent of Australian production and post-production located in the state. Almost 60 per cent of all people employed nationally in screen production are located in NSW, with many of them based in Sydney.
Tourism & Transport Forum Australia CEO, Margy Osmond, welcomed the increase in film production in Sydney and the positive impacts on tourism.
“Sydney’s increasing appeal as a film destination means the images and experiences of our beautiful city are showcased on screens to a global audience of prospective visitors. That’s advertising that money simply cannot buy,” Ms Osmond said.
“In an increasingly competitive global tourism market it’s critical that we utilise all opportunities to keep Sydney and Australia front of mind as a destination for the millions of people planning their next holiday.”
TV commercials remains the bread and butter of film production in the city, making-up around 80 per cent of all productions.
The city has also been used as a backdrop for a number of long running TV dramas, including Love Child and A Place to Call Home, along with major Australian films including A Few Best Men, Griff the Invisible, Not Suitable for Children, Burning Man, The Sapphires, The Eye Of The Storm, Goddess and Candy.
Sydney was named a UNESCO City of Film in December 2010 to support the local industry and encourage international investment and co-production.
The City offers a free online application and approval process for all commercial filming and photography that qualifies as ‘ultra-low impact’. Fees can also be waived for larger productions carried out by charities and not-for-profit agencies, or where the primary purpose of the production is to promote the city as a tourist attraction.
The City also collaborates with other government agencies and local authorities to make the application process easier for producers.
For more information about filming in the City of Sydney visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/business/city-spaces/filming
For media enquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Angela Dorizas on 0455 958 503 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Filming in Chippendale for A Place to Call Home, Seven Productions.