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Fillip for Docklands’ film industry

29 Nov 2011

November was a good month for Docklands’ film industry with the announcement of a new major project for Docklands Studios and a government grant for Open Channel.

Docklands Studios gets to host the production of I, Frankenstein – said to be worth $37 million into the Victorian economy and 500 new jobs.

And Victoria Harbour-based Open Channel has secured $50,000 for new equipment, courtesy of the State Government.

On November 9, Innovation, Services and Small Business Minister Louise Asher announced that Victoria had beaten strong competition from other states to secure I, Frankenstein, a gothic thriller written and directed by Stuart Beattie.

Ms Asher said exact locations were yet to be determined, but the production would be based at Docklands.

The rampant Australian dollar has meant that State Government-owned Docklands Studios has been doing it tough lately – last year reportedly losing $1.6 million and failing to attract any international productions.

Docklands Studios chief executive Rod Allan said the announcement was great news for the local economy with an influx of visitors requiring local services and accommodation.

He said the studio would be operating at full capacity from January until May, with the new production utilising the studios’ two larger stages. Mr Allan said Channel Nine would continue to use one of the studios’ smaller stages and the television show Winners and Losers would continue to be made in another.  He said the other smaller stage was being upgraded.

I, Frankenstein and will be produced by Hopscotch Features in partnership with Lakeshore Entertainment. Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason (who produced Beattie’s Tomorrow, When the War Began) and Richard Wright of Lakeshore are producing the film, with Hopscotch’s Troy Lum and Kevin Grevioux as executive producers. The film stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Thank You for Smoking) in the title role.

I, Frankenstein is adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Kevin Grevioux, co-creator of the Underworld film franchise. Described as a modern-day gothic thriller, the film tells the tale of Dr Frankenstein’s creature Adam, who centuries after his birth finds himself in a gothic city, caught in a war between two immortal clans.

On November 10 Ms Asher presented a $50,000 grant for Docklands-based screen resource centre Open Channel, to help upgrade production equipment and support its training efforts.

Open Channel provides training, up-skilling and support to post-tertiary students wishing to start a career in film and television.

Its executive director Jennie Hughes said Open Channel had been supporting the screen industry for close to 40 years by providing training, professional development and production support.

“This year we’ve taken our programs into regional Victoria, developed new programs for emerging filmmakers, young people and mental health clients, and we’ve been recognised by the screen industry for the quality of our work,” Ms Hughes said.

“This grant will go a long way to making sure we can continue to deliver quality service to Victoria’s screen industry and the community at large.”

“I’d like to thank Minister Asher and the Government for their continued support of Open Channel, and I feel this grant further demonstrates the Coalition Government’s strong commitment to the creative sector.”

The grant is in response to a need for equipment upgrades, and is in addition to operational and program-specific funding provided through Film Victoria.

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