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South Australia’s biggest ever Netflix series Desert King to begin production

20 September 2023
Desert King, photo by Tony Mott courtesy of Netflix

Netflix has announced that production is underway for Desert King (working title), the biggest Netflix series ever to be filmed in South Australia, with both production and post-production to take place in the state.

Supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and produced by South Australian producer Paul Ranford (Stateless, True History of the Kelly Gang), the series is a joint production between Easy Tiger and Ronde. It was created by Tim Lee (Mystery Road, Bump) and Ben Davies and is being directed by Greg McLean (La Brea, Wolf Creek).

The six-episode neo-western series is an explosive drama about power, family, land and legacy. When the world’s largest cattle station is left without a clear successor, generational clashes threaten to tear the Lawson family apart. Sensing this once great dynasty is in decline, the outback’s most powerful factions – rival cattle barons, desert gangsters, Indigenous elders and billionaire miners – move in for the kill.

Production has now begun in South Australia, supported by the SAFC’s Screen Production Fund and SA PDV Rebate, as well as in the Northern Territory, with support also coming from the Northern Territory Government.

Desert King is expected to significantly contribute to South Australia’s economy through monetary investment and job creation, creating 240 jobs for South Australians across crew and cast.

Desert King, photo by Tony Mott courtesy of Netflix

Minister for the Arts Andrea Michaels MP said: “Desert King is the biggest Netflix series ever to be filmed in South Australia and it sounds like it going to be a thrilling drama that is sure to captivate audiences around the world. The six-part series is not only being filmed in South Australia, but post-production work will be taking place here too, creating even more jobs for our talented screen sector.

“Attracting major international streaming platforms like Netflix to South Australia speaks volumes about the remarkable skill and creativity of our Adelaide Studios. The Malinauskas Government will continue to invest in and support our world-class screen industry to tell Australian stories to the world.”

Netflix Director of Content ANZ Que Minh Luu said: “Desert King is the ultimate tale of big land, big money and all the high stakes drama that come with it. We’re excited to be shooting our next premium Australian series to the Northern Territory for the first time, and at the world class production facilities in South Australia. We’re working with some of Australia’s leading creators and crew to bring to life a version of this country we’re proud to show to our members both here at home and around the world.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “We are delighted to welcome Netflix back to South Australia along with award-winning production companies Easy Tiger and Ronde for Desert King, set to be the largest Netflix series ever made in the state.

“This major new series is the latest exciting example of the fruitful screen production alliance that exists between South Australia and Northern Territory, where the SAFC’s flexible Adelaide Studios production facilities, coupled with South Australia’s world-class crews and PDV providers, provides the perfect base for productions filming at locations across both regions.

“The SAFC is proud to support this exciting new series which will utilise a majority South Australian crew comprising post-production services and key creatives, including top South Australian producer Paul Ranford, and which will once again provide a showcase for our state’s screen production capability and talent.”

Desert King will be released globally on Netflix as part of Netflix’s growing local slate of Australian productions. It follows on from South Australian made thriller Run Rabbit Run starring Sarah Snook, South Australian made drama series Stateless starring Cate Blanchett, and South Australian made children’s series Gymnastics Academy: A Second Chance and MaveriX, and the highly anticipated forthcoming animated series Eddie’s Lil’ Homies.

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