by Dov Kornits

“We are making a movie about paradise, and Queensland certainly offers up many stunning locations,” said producer Tim Bevan, of Working Title Films. “We are looking forward to working with fantastic Queensland crews, and to enjoying some famous Queensland hospitality.”

As every mainstream media has reported of late, Australia is the world’s hot spot right now for film and television production, so it’s fitting that two of the world’s biggest movie stars should head to our shores to shoot Ticket to Paradise, from director Ol Parker (Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, Imagine Me & You), based on a screenplay by Parker and executive Daniel Pipski.

Alongside Working Title, other producers include Sarah Harvey, Clooney and Grant Heslov for Smokehouse Pictures, Roberts, Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill for Red Om Films, and the lone Australian, Deborah Balderstone (Palm Beach).

The story sees George and Julia play a divorced couple travel to Bali to attend their daughter’s wedding. Shooting will take place in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays.

“This is huge news for Queensland and further evidence of our global reputation as the place to be for TV and film production,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “Ticket to Paradise will inject an estimated $32.7 million into the Queensland economy and create more than 1,000 jobs for local cast, crew and extras.”

Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis project recently wrapped in the state, with Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives and Season 2 of The Wilds shooting shortly, whilst Australian Survivor is about to roll in Cloncurry in outback Queensland, Joe Exotic moves in during April, and Fremantle’s new teen series Taylor’s Island will also film on the Gold Coast soon.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich proudly states that 60% of international productions since July 2020 are shooting in Queensland. “Initially it was about finding a COVID-safe place to film, but now the discussions with producers and directors are about the diversity of locations, first-rate sound stages, depth of crew, and just how fantastic it is to work here,” said Munnich. “Producers who hadn’t filmed here before are saying to us, ‘we can’t wait to come back and produce more projects in Queensland—you’ve got everything here and it’s just so easy.’ The word is well and truly out!”

It sure is, but whether it continues or helps create more Australian content is well and truly up for debate. When Covid passes, with our dollar uncompetitive and financial incentives to shoot here not as attractive as other locations, what will we be left with? Have a listen to this interesting analysis by ABC Radio National.

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