Hollywood magic in the script for Cairns

 

SCREEN Queensland officials will scout locations in Cairns to kickstart the Far North's film industry, to take advantage of demand for Australia's moviemaking studios and locations.

The Palaszczuk Government has released a Far North Queensland Screen Production Strategic Plan, a three-year plan aimed at developing content from FNQ's storytellers to deliver a range of unique, multimedia productions to gain a slice of worldwide screen sector, worth $US653 billion ($A962 billion).

The strategy, to be released today, states that in 2016, there were 112 people working in film and video production and exhibition across the Far North.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt read over the Far North Queensland Screen Production Strategic Plan. Photo: Dou Ribu
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt read over the Far North Queensland Screen Production Strategic Plan. Photo: Dou Ribu

There had also been a high level of screen activity, with the number of film permits and documentaries issued by the Cairns Regional Council, more than doubling between 2015 and 2017, rising from 41 to 88.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the next step to grow the industry could entail developing a regional filmmaking office, or dedicated studios similar to Screen Queensland's $12 million facility in the Brisbane suburb of Hemmant, which was well in demand by US studios.

"There's a huge pipeline of (movies and TV shows) that have already been done (in FNQ)," she said.

"If we can build the infrastructure, the next step, for Budget next year, is to have a look at what infrastructure is needed."

The Government had been previously eyeing the former Bunnings site along Spence St as the location for a multimillion-dollar sound stage.

The site, however, had been retained by the hardware giant, and was to be divided into five industrial warehouse tenancies.

The Premier said the location of the screen hub needed to be close to the airport and the CBD.

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt, who had been spearheading the effort to boost FNQ's movie industry, said the Hemmant studios concept - involving the redevelopment of former cotton sheds - could also work in Cairns.

"We'll continue to work with local stakeholders, local consortiums and universities to … develop those opportunities which will position us well into the future," he said.