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Research reveals that Gold Coast Indie Film Production is thriving

Kobi Facto | October 2020

The Gold Coast has one of the largest film and television workforces in Australia, behind only Sydney.

Yes, that’s right!

Home to the Village Roadshow Studios, the Gold Coast has become a significant location for large-scale US blockbusters, high-budget Australian feature films and numerous television series over the years. As such, the city has established world-class production facilities and a huge local network of skilled technical screen workers.

And that’s not all.

According to the latest study conducted by the QUT Digital Media Research Centre, the Gold Coast is also a booming hub for local productions, including: Indie films, television series, documentaries and corporate commercials.

In fact, the film and television sector is growing faster than the rest of the city’s workforce.

Associate Professor, Dr Mark Ryan of the QUT Creative Industries Faculty says:

“We suspected that the Indie production scene was evolving on the Gold Coast, however, we were surprised at the sheer volume of growth revealed by the study in this space.”

“The city is no longer simply just a great film shoot location for interstate and international productions – it is now Australia’s most significant regional production hub with huge entrepreneurial growth.”

“The Gold Coast film and television industry is a major attractor of film production to the region, and also an important producer of screen projects locally.”

Mark said that too often, the news of Hollywood blockbusters filming on the Gold Coast overshadows the exciting underground developments of homegrown content creators.

“The city’s Indie film and television production scene doesn’t often get the limelight – yet it is a large and fundamental component of the industry.”

Key recent films made by independent Gold Coast producers include the documentary Slim & I currently in cinemas, the dark thriller Bloody Hell (2019) screening at the Gold Coast Film Festival’s closing night in 2020, the crime movie Locusts (2019) recently securing a US theatrical release, the 2018 alien invasion movie Occupation available on Netflix Australia, and the action movie In Like Flynn (2018).

The study of Gold Coast Independent Screen Production by QUT was commissioned by City of Gold Coast to better understand the region’s growth, limitations and talent pool.
“The study showed that a large portion of Gold Coast producers, content creators and owners of screen content companies are highly experienced industry practitioners,” says Mark.

“While there are many film and television specialists and other creative specialists that live and work in the region, more than half of the screen industry on the Gold Coast are employed as support workers (such as non-creative specialist occupations in the film, television and screen industry, including lawyers, accountants, sale representatives and administration staff).”

“The Gold Coast’s enviable lifestyle and access to a diverse number of internationally acclaimed film locations continue to be the main drivers for screen professionals choosing to live and work in the city.”

“Although, there is still work to be done,” Mark explains.

“We identified that further support is needed to continually develop local producers in order to grow the formal screen industry on the Gold Coast. Additionally, initiatives to attract large production companies to the region will be fundamental to securing ongoing slates of core screen content work across the city.”

Mark and the team at QUT have provided recommendations around a series of targeted mentorship programs to further enhance mid-career and established producers, as well as independent film creatives on the Gold Coast. A recommendation has also been made to lower the City of Gold Coast’s film attraction, $1.5 million production threshold, to further support local low-budget indie productions.

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