Australian Government woos overseas filmmakers

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Day and Date Down Under

The Australian Government has just announced an A$140 million incentive for overseas filmmakers to choose Australia as a filming destination. The money is spread over four years, giving moviemakers an annual A$35 million booty to apply for. The funds outlayed will depend on the size of the production and number of Australians employed.Sony has greenlit the production ofPeter Rabbit 2, with a release date of February 2020. Co-producers are the Australian company Animal Logic, who shared duties with U.S. company Olive Bridge Entertainment on the original film which was made in Australia, but no announcements have been made about locations for the sequel.

Australia is famous for its sharks, and there are a number of encounters between sharks and humans every year. So it is no surprise that there have been a number of shark movies made Down Under including The Reef, Bait and Open Water. Next to come isGreat White, which director Martin Wilson will make later this year. In it, a group of passengers on a seaplane find their idyllic holiday turning bad when the plane becomes stranded miles from shore and a number of hungry sharks start circling. Producers Michael Roberston and Neal Kingston launched the film in Cannes this year.

Daniel Radcliffe is currently in Auckland filming the action comedy Guns Akimbo with Samara Weaving and Natasha Liu Bordizzo. The tale involves a televised game of death and has been described as an "adrenaline-fuelled, balls-to-the-wall" film. New Zealand special-effects specialist Jason Lei Howden is directing.

Hopscotch Features, an Australia-based distribution and production company, has purchased filming rights to the Ireland-based thriller The Ruin. Irish writer Dervla McTiernan, who now lives in Australia, has had strong success with this debut thriller. It involves police corruption, abuses of the church and the death of a mother 20 years ago.

The single-screen Yamba Cinema, the only one in the Australian town, was built in the early 1980s by Debbie McCredie's parents. Debbie, who now runs the theatre, has filed a development application with the local council to add a second screen at the back and slightly reduce the current seating capacity (now at 200). The upgrade is badly needed, as a storm damaged the cinema structure last year. The storm did promote the decision to install a laser projector and the second screen will have similar installations. McCredie is looking for a temporary venue in the town to show films during the few months that the work will take.

This may date me, but I do recall a time when men wore ties to the cinema and women wore hats. I even had to move seats once because the lady in front of me was wearing a hat. Sadly, standards have been slipping ever since that time. One New Zealand cinema has decided it is time to stop the downward trend after an increasing number of patrons started turning up in nightwear. The Hawera Cinema, in the North Island town of the same name, has banned pajamas (pyjamas), onesies and dirty boots from the cinema. Manager Kirsty Bourke told the BBC that the response has been fantastic "We have had customers all day congratulating us." This story has quickly become international news, as it seems to have struck a chord. I first heard it on the Australia-wide radio station Radio National in an entertaining piece while traveling to a cinema. The next morning I had e-mails from friends and colleagues in the U.K., Hong Kong and New Zealand alerting me to the story.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.