APVA calls for production-related post-production incentive

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The Australian Post & VFX Alliance (APVA) has used its submission to the Federal Government’s National Cultural Policy to highlight the need for an incentive that further encourages overseas titles to complete post-production in Australia.

Incorporating over 30 VFX and post businesses, APVA was formed last June in united opposition to the previous government’s proposal to increase the minimum Australian expenditure eligible for post, digital and visual effects (PDV) compensation by 30%.

Members include KOJO, Double Barrel VFX, Blackbird VFX, Boogie Monster, Two Dogs TV, Soundfirm, Stage 23, The Post Lounge, Alt.vfx, Trackdown, and Cutting Edge, among others.

With the discount remaining intact, the group turned its attention to ensuring that a higher percentage of international productions use local post-production companies.

Marcus Bolton, president of APVA and director of features and television at Cutting Edge, told IF that the alliance wanted the new cultural policy to capitalize on “real opportunities for the domestic sector”, both in terms of inbound work incentivizing location and compensating producers and Australia being reinforced as a POS location on the global stage.

“All APVA members, big or small, are in a position to continue to support and grow our national industry,” he said.

“But this is done as a pillar of international work, capable of expanding our market beyond our shores by opening our borders and making us an internationally-focused digital export business.”

APVA argued that more needs to be done to prevent foreign projects from bringing post-production home, citing Canada’s Film or Video Production Tax Credit and Canada’s Film Tax Relief (FRT). UK as examples of programs where productions are rewarded for relocating their post. -production and VFX work.

To qualify for the former, at least 75 percent of the total production-related service costs of the production (other than certain excluded costs) must be paid for services provided to or by individuals who are Canadian and at least 75 100 percent of post-production must be engaged for services performed in Canada.

To claim the FRT, a production must either pass the cultural test or qualify as an official co-production, while also having a minimum basic UK expenditure requirement of 10%, including those made under treaties official co-productions.

APVA notes that while there was record spending on Australian and overseas feature films in the 2020-21 financial year – with the figure totaling over $1 billion – key overseas titles such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Thirteen Lives had not completed post-production in Australia, although they employed some of the country’s VFX artists.

As it currently stands, productions eligible for the Localization Incentive Scheme must use the services of one or more Australian postal, digital or visual effects providers.

However, APVA’s brief calls for an incentive that specifically ties production to post-production, describing it as a “game-changing opportunity to grow the sector.”

Bolton, who attended one of Arts Minister Tony Burke’s town hall meetings, said the implementation of a comprehensive arts framework was an important step in ensuring the postal sector was “recognized and prioritized”, commending the government for conducting a submission process broad enough to allow “many voices to be heard”.

“We had an early engagement and are looking to continue a strong partnership with Arts Minister Tony Burke,” he said.

“Of course we are confident [of measures being implemented] but I think it will only be from the sustained commitment to continuously making our voices heard that there will be traction.

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