19/08/2020 - 15:56

Govt requests film hub proposals

19/08/2020 - 15:56

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Western Australia is set to have its own film hub in the not-so-distant future, after the state government called for proposals to develop studio facilities.

Govt requests film hub proposals
David Templeman says WA’s screen industry was booming. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Western Australia is set to have its own film hub in the not-so-distant future, after the state government called for proposals to develop studio facilities.

The state government is asking for proposals to build, locate and operate a screen production facility which will include a studio, digital and post-production activities for the screen industry and facilities for the games and immersive technology sectors.

Specifications include a sound stage with a 15-metre ceiling and large opening doors for trucks, two or three smaller sound stages, production offices, two construction workshops, costume, laundry, makeup and hair facilities, lock-up storage and at least 3,000 square metres to park trucks.

Arts and Culture Minister David Templeman said WA’s screen industry was booming and this proposal would help capitalise on the remarkable talents and industry expertise in the state.

Mr Templeman told reporters this morning the film hub would be operating within the next couple of years.

Screenwest chief executive Willie Rowe said he welcomed the government’s foresight and commitment to studio infrastructure.

“We are receiving an unprecedented volume of enquiries for projects to film in Western Australia and a lack of studio infrastructure has been a barrier to the state attracting larger budget screen productions,” Mr Rowe said.

“We also believe that it is important that proposals support the local industry in addition to building the state’s capacity to attract interstate and international productions, to ensure a stable pipeline of work for our local crew and significant benefit to the WA economy.”

The idea for a film hub in Perth is not new, and has been suggested many times over the years.

City of Fremantle and screen industry representatives, including Ben Elton, have been campaigning for a warehouse in O’Connor to be temporarily converted into a film production hub to meet demand.

Professional Film Crew Association of WA vice-president John Fairhead, who has been lobbying for the Jones Street site, told Business News the government’s announcement this morning was exciting, but it was long overdue.

Mr Fairhead was concerned about how long the project would take and said the Jones Street site was still necessary to meet demand in the short-to-medium term. 

A property developer has also shown interest in developing a film hub at Victoria Quay.

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the announcement fit perfectly with plans the city had for establishing Fremantle as a major film hub.

He said it also fit with and what film industry representatives had in mind for the Jones Street site and the private sector’s plans for Victoria Quay.

“In the City of Fremantle’s view these two options could work together for the benefit of the film industry in WA,” Mr Pettitt said.

“Jones Street is a shovel-ready site that could be up and running very quickly and at minimal cost to take advantage of the current opportunities being presented by WA being a safe, COVID-free working environment.

“Jones Street would be used as a stepping stone for the development of larger studio facilities on Victoria Quay as outlined in the minister’s announcement, which may take a few years to plan and build.”

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