The Illawarra and South Coast are proving popular with location scouts for film and television projects despite recent lockdowns in NSW.
Currently, Russell Crowe is filming his latest project at a prestige property in Kiama and surrounds, after production was reportedly moved to Australia from the United States due to the pandemic.
"In addition to a steady stream of strong local productions filming in NSW this year, 11 major productions have been attracted to film in the state," according to a Screen NSW spokeswoman.
"With over 1,500 screen production businesses employing over 9,600 people and generating $1.6 billion in production expenditure, the screen industry is an important contributor to the State's economic recovery from the pandemic."
When asked if there had been a mass exodus of international film crews due to the latest NSW outbreak (as reported in other media), the spokeswoman would not give direct comment.
"In light of ongoing public health concerns over COVID-19, the NSW Government continues to work closely with the sector to ensure that production safely continues in NSW, while safeguarding the NSW community," she said.
Wollongong City Council received 65 filming applications lodged between January 1 and June 30 this year with sought after locations being the Sea Cliff Bridge, Corrimal, Bellambi, Stanwell Park Peach, Port Kembla and Windang Beach.
However since the latest lockdown, seven productions have had to postpone their filming dates until Public Health Orders change, according to a spokeswoman.
Whether there is an exodus or not, the regions have still welcomed a lot of activity in the past six months, the South Coast has welcomed business from Vogue Magazine, Kathmandu clothing brand, Elle Magazine, Mitsubishi, Family Feud, international film crews, plus Sunrise and Today morning television shows.
Berry hosted a cast and crew of 60 people in 2020, for the upcoming Amazon Prime series Back to the Rafters (a spin-off from Packed to the Rafters).
"The events and marketing team in tourism at Shoalhaven City Council field a number of enquiries from film crews for print, TV and film, and help scout locations regularly," a spokeswoman from Shoalhaven City Council said.
"In the last twelve months Subaru has filmed their Forrester and Outback for TV commercials here in both Kangaroo Valley, Mollymook and Berry. These were 2.5 minute little travel segments, Great Australian Detours. Often we connect them with Tourism operators who can feature in the ads, and the crews bring economic benefit by staying a number of nights."
Reality television producers like Endemol Shine also have the coast on their radar with Married at First Site utilising Bangalay Luxury Villas and Wollongong Yacht Club in recent times.
The Southern Highlands has also been popular in the past six months with various film (mainly commercials and a television series) projects undertaken at Bowral, Bullio, Mittagong and Robertson, according to Wingecarribee Shire Council.
For the month of August, Kiama Council has so far received four requests for filming and photography at locations including Bombo Quarry and land not managed by council.
In 2020, the Federal Government launched a $400 million incentive package to attract film and television productions to Australia over seven years.
It was expected to attract an estimated $3 billion in foreign expenditure and create 8,000 new job opportunities for locals per year.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.