Docklands Studios investment secures new domestic and international film production
By Rebecca Broadhead
The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments will deliver cutting-edge new virtual production infrastructure and economic support at Docklands Studios Melbourne for the new TV series Metropolis by NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group.
Metropolis is an eight-part television series inspired by the Fritz Lang science fiction work set in a dystopic city in the future where a utopic culture of people exist above a struggling working class underworld. The project is expected to contribute $188 million to the Australian economy alone.
It is estimated that the pipeline of projects supported by the Location Incentive and the Victorian Screen Incentive could contribute up to $621 million in direct spend across a five-year production period to 2027.
More than 700 cast and crew and 2500 employees will be employed to work on Metropolis, with an estimated 700 local businesses and service providers set to benefit from the local production.
The investment is part of the Commonwealth Government’s long-term economic plan to create more jobs.
Federal Minister for Employment, Workforce, and Skills, Stuart Robert, said, “By supporting projects like this, the Morrison Government is ensuring we are building on our track record of delivering a record number of trade apprentices and more traineeships for Australians.”
The evocative sci-fi series will benefit by new infrastructure including one of the largest permanent “LED volumes” – high-tech digital screens that can display realistic background environments and visual effects.
This technology, which was used to fashion worlds in the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, will be configured for high-budget international films and television series.
A second LED volume, adapted for more contained scenes, will attract domestic, as well as international, productions.
Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said, “With this industry-leading infrastructure capability, we’re putting Victoria at the forefront of the global screen industry. Together with the recent addition of our new super sound stage, this will make Victoria the go-to place for ambitious screen productions.”
The Victorian Government is providing $12.5 million to deliver the infrastructure and the Federal Government is also backing the series, providing $5 million to support students with training to work with this state-of-the-art technology as part of a national upskilling program.
Commonwealth Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher MP said, “The funding provided for Metropolis responds to this outstanding opportunity for the Australian screen sector, firstly to achieve a permanent installation of this world-leading technology which can be used by other productions as well; and secondly, to train Australian screen professionals in the use of this technology, helping them keep their skills at world-leading levels.”
The virtual production workforce training program on Metropolis will place a number of paid trainees with visual effects houses, games developers and other companies engaged in virtual production. Universal Studio Group and Matchbox Pictures will also establish a partnership with the Victorian College of the Arts that will enable students to develop technical skills in virtual production.
The recent completion of Sound Stage 6 at Docklands Studios Melbourne, addition of LED volumes and financial support for the series will substantially advance both Victoria’s and Australia’s strategic position as a leading screen production destination •
Caption: Minister Pearson, Caroline Pitcher, Professor Marie Sierra, Matt Vitins. Photo: Daniel Mahon.