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Adventure/Fantasy blockbusters to boost Australian film industry

Joint Media Release

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts

The Hon Simon Birmingham MP
Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

The Hon Daniel Andrews MP
Victorian Premier

The Morrison Government is providing $30 million to Dick Cook Studios to shoot two new adventure/fantasy films, Ranger's Apprentice and The Alchemyst, in Victoria and other locations in Australia with the support of the Federal Government''s Location Incentive program. The Victorian Government is also supporting the productions.

Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the films will bring significant investment to Australia's economy and boost jobs in local creative industries.

“Dick Cook has an impressive resume at Disney and is now establishing an exciting new venture into family-friendly entertainment in Australia. This is a vote of confidence in the Australian screen industry and the production facilities on offer, and recognises the depth of local capability and talent we have available to bring films to life,” Minister Fletcher said.

“The Australian Government is proud to support the production of these films, which are expected to provide a $280 million boost to both Victoria and Australia's economy and employ around 4,500 cast and crew. Each film will use the services of around 800 local businesses.”

Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said productions like these would shine a spotlight on our top-class screen industry and encourage further investments in Australia.

“This commitment by one of the world's largest entertainment companies is once again a huge opportunity for Australia to showcase the quality of our screen industry as we continue to develop a pipeline of investments in film productions that have huge benefits for our economy,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We also shouldn't underestimate the tourism value of having locations across Victoria and Australia playing a starring role in these blockbuster films that will be watched by millions of people from around the world.

Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews, said that Dick Cook Studios, founded by the former Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, choosing Melbourne as the home of their first two productions is testament to the calibre of the Victorian screen sector.

“Securing these projects creates jobs and shows yet again the quality of our creative industries and infrastructure,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Melbourne and Victoria are becoming production destinations and hundreds of businesses will reap the benefits of these and future films.”

Dick Cook, Chairman of Dick Cook Studios, said: “Melbourne is an extraordinary city for screen production with a strong track record of both local and international productions – we are proud to now be a part of the wonderful industry here.”

Based on the award-winning book series by Australian author John Flanagan, Ranger's Apprentice is a live action feature film following the adventures of a young orphan chosen as an apprentice ranger to keep his kingdom safe. Filming will start in Melbourne in the second half of 2020.

The Alchemyst is a live action feature film based on the successful fantasy novel series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott about an alchemist who holds the secret to eternal life. The film will be coproduced by Australian production company AMPCO and its executive director Mario Andreacchio, with filming to start in Melbourne in early 2021.

Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher said: “I'm thrilled that Victoria has attracted these two projects, creating employment opportunities for hundreds of people in Victoria's screen sector, training and development – opportunities for newer entrants to the industry and flow-on benefits to adjacent industries.”

Ranger's Apprentice and The Alchemyst follow recent news of the Federal Government and Victorian Government partnering to secure Paramount Television and Anonymous Content's 10-part adaption of best-selling novel Shantaram to film in Victoria and Netflix Original Clickbait.
The Federal Government's Location Incentive complements the Location Offset and effectively provides a 30% rebate for eligible large budget international productions.

For more information visit: www.arts.gov.au/australian-screen-production-incentive

Media contacts:

Federal Minister Fletcher:
Brad Hatch | 0448 162 679 | Brad.Hatch [at] communications.gov.au
Rebecca Papillo | 0439 892 771 | Rebecca.Papillo [at] communications.gov.au

Federal Minister Birmingham:
Benn Ayre | 0428 342 325 | Benn.Ayre [at] dfat.gov.au">Benn.Ayre [at] dfat.gov.au

Victorian Premier Andrews:
Stephanie Anderson | 0422 031 125 | Stephanie.Anderson [at] minstaff.vic.gov.au