Written by on May 30, 2014. Posted in Incentive News

Lego Movie animation boss calls for better Australian filming incentives

The head of the Sydney-based animation house that worked on hit film The Lego Movie has called for a stronger filming incentive in Australia. Zareh Nalbandian runs Animal Logic and has been made an international ambassador for the New South Wales (NSW) creative industries.

Australia offers a 30% incentive for digital and visual effects work, which helped attract The Lego Movie, but live-action production can access only half this figure through a 16.5% Location Offset. The country’s production community has long protested that this needs to be doubled to be truly competitive.

“The incentives are critical for us to compete globally,” Nalbandian told the Sydney Morning Herald: “It's not because it puts us ahead of the race. It just gives us a fighting chance with all the other jurisdictions around the world that have as good, if not better, incentives than Australia has federally.

“It's really important for the government to invest in attracting these projects to Australia, and to NSW in particular for us, otherwise they will find a home with greater incentives and we'll have lost the long-term opportunity to build a sustainable industry.”

The Australian government has been reluctant to increase the Location Offset. Last year a separate AUD20 million fund known simply as The Incentive was launched to help attract big-budget productions with one-off payments, but this was officially a short-term measure.

Australia has recently had more success attracting large-scale international features. Angelina Jolie filmed on the east coast for her true-life World War II drama Unbroken and action star Dwayne Johnson doubled Queensland for California in earthquake disaster movie San Andreas.

However, the country remains under pressure to compete internationally, especially since New Zealand recently boosted its own filming incentive and secured James Cameron’s Avatar sequels.


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