Australian State Aims for 'Star Wars,' 'Game of Thrones' With $15M Fund

Mad Max: Fury Road Still - H 2015
Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

Mad Max: Fury Road Still - H 2015

The New South Wales funding package aims to nab film and TV productiosn from other international and Australian locations.

Sydney and its home state of New South Wales want to play host to more blockbuster films and TV series. The state government on Wednesday unveiled a new AUS$20 million ($15 million) production attraction fund, dubbed "Made in NSW," to compete with other Australian and international locations for big shoots.

The new fund effectively doubles the financing the NSW government is making available to international film and TV productions and major Australian TV shows over the next two years, with the state hoping to build on the success of such films as Mad Max: Fury Road, which was based at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney and Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant, which is currently shooting here in the state.

“Now I’m putting other states and countries on notice that we’re going after their productions — who knows, NSW could host the next Star Wars blockbuster or Game of Thrones [season], or we could steal [local TV hit series] Offspring from the Victorians,” New South Wales deputy premier and arts minister Troy Grant said in a statement.

“We’ve got gorgeous and unique locations, extraordinarily talented local actors, directors and producers, and world-class post-production companies," he added. "My message is clear — you should come here because NSW is simply the best state to make film and television, and we are putting our money where our mouth is."

The fund will be administered by state agency Screen NSW and, if successful, will be extended beyond its initial two-year phase. Actor Bryan Brown (Gods of Egypt, Australia) said the funding would be an "enormous help" to the Australian film industry. "It certainly will help a huge number of projects get the opportunity to go into production," he said.

Hunter Page Lochard, the star of genre series Cleverman, currently airing on SundanceTV in the U.S., added: "The success of Cleverman has shown exactly what we are capable of in NSW — making first-class television that can make waves around the world. It's exciting to know that this new funding will make it possible for NSW to make even more great film and television."

Northern NSW has for a long time hosted the U.K version of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, while competition is fierce between NSW and its northern neighbor Queensland for big-budget films, with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales shooting in Queensland in 2015.