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South Australia hits new record high drama spend and fifth consecutive year of growth

25 November 2020
Behind the scenes shot of Mortal Kombat filming on location in Coober Pedy, photo supplied Todd Garner
Mortal Kombat filming on location in Coober Pedy. Photo courtesy of Todd Garner

South Australia has achieved a record 15% share of this year’s national drama spend, with a new record-breaking high of $146 million spent in the state on drama production and post production in 2019/20.

According to Screen Australia’s 19/20 National Drama Report released today, South Australia’s drama spend is up 34% on last year’s record high of $110 million, and up 71% on the 17/18 total of $85 million.

The all-time high makes 2019/20 the state’s fifth consecutive year of growth, with South Australia the only state to show continued growth over the last six financial years.

The record-busting figures come despite the disruption to the screen sector by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, which saw at least three productions in South Australia delayed to the 20/21 financial year.

The Screen Australia report further details that of the new record $146 million, $90 million came from drama productions shooting in South Australia – more than doubling the 18/19 total of $44 million.

$56 million was derived from PDV (post production, digital and visual effects), down from $66 million in 18/19. However, South Australia maintained its 18% share of national PDV spend for the third straight financial year. South Australia ranks third in the national PDV spend breakdown behind New South Wales and Victoria, demonstrating the strength of the sector and the success of the South Australian PDV rebate introduced in 2018.

The National Drama Report measures the health of the Australian screen industry by covering the production of local and foreign feature films, TV dramas, online programs plus PDV (post production, digital and visual effects) activity.

South Australia’s Minister for Innovation and Skills The Hon. David Pisoni MP said “South Australia’s screen sector has once again proven the importance of the creative industries to the state’s economy with this record-breaking result.

“For a state which represents only 7% of the nation’s population, we’re punching above our weight by delivering a record 15% of Australia’s screen drama output – an incredible result that demonstrates the strength of our local industry.

“It is fantastic to see South Australia’s screen sector has risen to the challenges of COVID-19 to continue working safely through the pandemic, with blockbuster feature film Mortal Kombat crucial in keeping our state’s screen production activity high and enabling our state to maintain its share of the national PDV work despite the disruption.”

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser said: “The fact that South Australia has once again achieved record-breaking results in a year severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the robustness of our screen industry, which continues to go from strength to strength.

“Not only has South Australia delivered record results for the sector in drama expenditure, but on top of that we’ve also had a strong year in factual with SA made children’s TV series Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors and Teenage Boss, and documentary features including Maralinga Tjarutja, Getting Their Acts Together and This is Port Adelaide.

“The 19/20 year also saw the SAFC’s expansion into support for South Australia’s games sector with the Games Innovation Fund, through which we directly supported the development and production of 11 new SA-created video games.”

Screen Australia notes that all PDV companies canvassed for the report nationwide were concerned about their future pipeline of work due to COVID’s worldwide disruption of production, with some turning their focus to other areas of work such as games.

“Even in a year disrupted by a global pandemic the strength of South Australia’s screen industry and the work done by the SAFC has allowed us to deliver these record-breaking figures, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” said SAFC CEO Kate Croser.

“With the full impacts of COVID-19 still unfolding worldwide, support for South Australia’s screen sector continues to be crucial, particularly for our PDV sector which relies heavily on work coming from overseas.

“Along with the continued delivery of the SA PDV Rebate, the SAFC will be able to provide even more support to our PDV sector in future with the new SA Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate taking effect this year, providing more opportunities for SA PDV companies considering a potential expansion into games.”

To download the full report, visit the Screen Australia website here.


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