Screen centre far too small
Article from: The Advertiser
August 22, 2009 12:01am
AUSTRALIAN studios can't keep up with the demand from Hollywood - but the $43 million Adelaide Film and Screen Centre will be far too small to attract major films.
Blockbuster producer of Lethal Weapon and Sherlock Holmes Joel Silver complained last week he wanted to shoot more blockbusters in Australia but local studios were "too busy".
"We filmed a couple of movies in Sydney and a couple on the Gold Coast, but now everybody is there so when we want to go there is no space available," he said. "Everything is booked. It's just a shame."
Bragg MP Vickie Chapman said a respected local filmmaker who wanted to remain anonymous had also complained the new SA studios will be far too small for major productions.
"We're missing out because the Government has refused to provide an international-size studio," she said. "Nicole Kidman will never come here because of the size of our studios."
Work is expected to begin on the centre in October. It has been very well received by the local industry, but opponents led by Ms Chapman argue the Glenside location is an "insult to mental health needs" and that it could be built more economically elsewhere .
The complex includes two sound stages of 400 sq m and 1000 sq m.
Director Bruce Beresford, who made his career-defining film Breaker Morant in SA said the size was appropriate. "That's pretty big," he said. "You probably couldn't make a film like Australia, but you could make all sorts of things.
The new centre's largest stage is about one third the size of the largest one at Fox Studios in Sydney. However, it's roughly equivalent in size - or slightly bigger - than four of the eight other stages at Fox.
And the SAFC stages are expected to be considerable cheaper to hire which is expected to attract domestic production.
Wolf Creek producer David Lightfoot said the interstate studios were unaffordable. "The average Aussie budget means you can't afford to go there," he said. He added the new centre's inner city location had big benefits in terms of ease of access.
SA Film Corporation CEO Richard Harris said the screen centre has been specifically designed to cater for independent domestic production.
That means small to medium sized feature films and TV series, potentially including high end TV drama production most of which has bypassed SA because the current SAFC sound stages are manifestly inadequate.
Economic analysis suggests it will result in the local film industry doubling in size.
The centre also includes 1,234 square metres of production facilities - offices, dressing rooms and art departments - and 684 square metres of post production facilities for editing, sound mixing and screening.
Mr Harris said most of the controversy around the centre was due to public anger over the Glenside redevelopment.
"We've come out first and all of the concerns about the whole master plan get focused on us - and that's unfortunate because I think we're a really good news story," he said.
Ms Chapman also argued the studios could have been built more cheaply elsewhere because only $19 million was being spent on production facilities, with most of the remaining money was tied up redeveloping office space in the main "clock tower" heritage building.
Lachlan Harris, spokesman for the Premier Mike Rann said $8 million was being spent on the clock tower building. Responding to Ms Chapman's concerns about mental health needs he said the Government was building new "$130 million mental Health Hospital" at Glenside
Emmy award-winning director Mario Andreacchio (Elephant Tales) said structural changes in the industry meant independent film producers will increasingly need to work under "umbrella organisations" and the new centre catered to that need.
"The downside is that it centralises the industry which can be good or bad depending on how it works," he said.