Council strategy to boost film industry

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Council strategy to boost film industry

The case for Cairns Regional Council to throw its support behind 'filming' as a growth industry for the region is highlighted by significant flow-on benefits from the filming of television series Reef Doctors in Port Douglas.

Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Manager, Fiona Wilson, said the visiting cast and crew had booked more than 65 rooms at three local hotels and an office in the Saltwater Complex for up to four weeks.

“On top of that, local caterers, landscaping crews and suppliers, charter boats and slipways have been engaged by the project," she said.

“Plus there are all the smaller purchases that a large group of visitors to the town will make during their stay.

“All of these things bring an economic benefit to the Port Douglas and surrounding area and essentially help to extend the peak tourist season economy a little longer.”

Mayor Val Schier said Council was supportive of the film industry and looked forward to seeing many other crews utilise the varied locations within the Cairns region.

“With our coastline, reef, rainforest, city and rural backdrops, we can cater to many filming needs,” Cr Schier said.

“We certainly welcome project like Reef Doctors to our region and are prepared to work with them to make their stay productive and enjoyable.

“Recently, there have been episodes of Neighbours filmed in Port Douglas and The Straits in Cairns.

And it was only just under two years ago that Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and their crew spent almost eight months in Port Douglas filming their award winning mini-series The Pacific which is back on TV for a re-run over this Christmas.

“Council’s Economic Development team is working to promote the region as a filming location and the development of a Filming Strategy is a key part of this and will further boost the region’s attractiveness to the film industry.”

Council’s Filming Strategy will help to streamline the processes involved in approving commercial filming and assist film crews in meeting their requirements.

“Once we have that guiding document in place, we can look at other incentives and initiative to successfully promote the Cairns region to filmmakers,” Ms Wilson said.

The strategy will be tabled at next week’s Council meeting.

However, locals who had been contracted on the recent filming of an Australian television series in the Douglas region claim they are yet to be paid for services rendered.

Residents who were lucky enough to have been selected as extras, as well as an unnamed contractor, claim they have not yet been paid, despite being told they would be paid immediately.

It is understood some of the extras had refused to return to the set after being offered additional work beyond their contracted period on the principal that they had yet to be paid for work already completed.

One contractor claimed that despite being told that her invoices had been paid by the production company, she was yet to see the money in her account.

We'll keep you updated....

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