Written by Shona Smith on Aug 13, 2018. Posted in General Interest / Production News

Paramount Player’s Dora the Explorer films in Queensland, Australia

The first live-action adaptation of the “Dora the Explorer” franchise has begun principal photography in Australia’s Gold Coast. Paramount’s youth division Paramount Players has entered a co-production and financing deal with Walden Media. The feature film has received funding from Queensland Screen having committed to shooting solely in the North-Eastern state.

DoraThe project is led by The Muppets’ director James Bobin and is produced by Kristen Burr (Christopher Robin). Starring as Dora is Isabela Moner (Transformers; The last Knight, Sicario: Day of the Soldado) who leaves the jungle where she grew up to go to high school. This escape to normality does not last long as she soon finds herself heading a group of teenagers on a quest to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilisation. Mexican star Eugenio Derbez (How To Be a Latin Lover, Instructions not Included) stars as a mysterious jungle inhabitant who protects the teenagers from marauders and is also an executive producer.

The storyline requires inner city and suburban locations as well as jungle scenes and studio sets, all of which Queensland were able to provide. Lee Rosenthal, president of Physical Production for Paramount Pictures states that “We could not be more thrilled to be bringing Dora to Queensland and to be able to deliver Queensland for our film. In Queensland, we are able to get outstanding crew, stages and a variety of topography and city backdrops in essentially one place.”

villageroadshow-photo-2-minVillage Roadshow Studios, which brands itself as the biggest studio lot in the Southern hemisphere, will host the production on its AUD15.5 million Sound Stage 9. The studio has previously been used by big budget productions such as Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and most recently Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok and DC’s Aquaman. Tropical forests near Tamborine Mountain and in Tallebudgera will provide the jungle habitat. The production is expected to bring a thousand jobs to South East Queensland.

Back in March we reported that Queensland almost missed out on securing the production when a request to sanction a one-off increase to the tax incentive from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent was rejected by the federal government. One-off tax increases from the federal government have been successfully negotiated in the past, but on this occasion Screen Queensland were obliged to find the necessary money to convince the production company to sign the deal from their own film fund.

Screen Queensland’s film fund is used to provide tax benefits to big-budget productions that do not qualify as co-productions or national productions. Recipients must have a minimum budget of AUD3.5 million but there is no cap on the benefit given. Recce tour assistance and a location finding service are offered as a part of this incentive. Additionally, feature films, TV films and series and reality TV shows filming in the state are eligible for the Tax Rebate of 4.75% of spend on VAT, GST and Sales Tax which is dependent on the use of local cast and crew.

Screen Australia offer a 16.5% rebate to international productions provided 70% of the film is shot in the country and has a minimum spend of AUD15 million. This shoots up to 40% for national and co-productions.



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