Behind the scenes of South Australia’s flourishing screen industry

14 March 2023

Since the establishment of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) in 1972, South Australia has been carving-out its spot among the bright lights of Hollywood.

SA made and SAFC supported films L-R: Monolith, The Survival of Kindness, Run Rabbit Run, Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black, Limbo, Talk To Me. Image credit: SAFC

What’s one thing The Tourist, Gold, Thor: Love and Thunder and Elvis have in common?

Aside from being runaway successes at the box-office and on streaming platforms, they all have a connection to South Australia — whether through locations, key creatives, cast and crew, post production or VFX.

Since the establishment of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) in 1972 — the first and longest-running state screen agency in the nation — South Australia has been carving-out its spot among the bright lights of Hollywood.

Our skilled crews, unique and easily accessible locations, production facilities, globally recognised VFX companies; incentives and rebates and focus on diversity and inclusion makes SA a hotbed for young, global talent, cutting their teeth in the industry.

Go behind the scenes of South Australia’s booming film industry to find out why our state has become internationally recognised as a premier location for world-leading screen production.

South Australia’s screen industry at a glance

The creative industries are a pillar of South Australia’s growing economy, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and jobs each year.

More than 32,000 South Australians are involved with creative employment, with the South Australian screen sector supporting 2,297 FTE South Australian jobs in 2019-20, and contributing $187 million into the state’s economy. In 2021-22, a record-breaking $144 million was spent in the state on drama production and post production – up 47 per cent on the previous financial year.

“The state’s soaring drama expenditure in 2021-22 is even more significant for the fact that it was driven by productions led by South Australian production companies and producers,” Kate Croser, CEO of the SAFC said.

“The majority of which are based on underlying South Australian IP, and which employed 83 per cent South Australian crew including 75 per cent South Australian resident Heads Of Department.”

Companies like Rising Sun Pictures, MPC, Resin, KOJO and Artisan Post Group also contributed to a record-breaking year for post production, digital and visual effects (PDV).

“South Australia continues to punch above its weight in PDV, with the state’s record-breaking $89 million spend on titles including Elvis, Thor: Love and Thunder, Joe Vs Carole, La Brea S2 and Hawkeye, ranking the state as the third highest spend in the nation,” Kate said.

“This is further testament to the strength of our globally recognised and award-winning PDV sector, supported by the SAFC’s highly successful SA PDV Rebate.”

Pioneering diversity and inclusion

South Australia has a history of being at the forefront of the Australian screen industry, and in 2022, this was exemplified by the launch of SAFC’s nation-leading Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2032.

“The SAFC has long been committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the South Australian screen sector, championing diverse storytellers and authentic representation in screen productions,” Kate said.

“We recognise that diverse practitioners have experiences, make observations and face barriers that are unique to them, giving them unique perspectives on life and the world.

“Their representation is vital for ensuring the screen stories we support are not only authentic but continue to connect with audiences here and internationally,” she said.

The strategy sets out 10-year targets to boost diverse representation in South Australian screen production and increase inclusion and diversity in the sector.

They are designed to increase representation of people who are First Nations, female, LGBTQIA+, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), regional and remote, and Deaf or disabled, or an intersection of these identities on SAFC productions.

“The launch of this strategy is a significant step forward in the SAFC’s mission to support and develop underrepresented storytellers, creatives and crew, and to fund the production of stories which reflect the vibrancy, capability and potential of the diverse South Australian
community,” Kate said.

Getting involved in South Australia’s screen industry

Adelaide is internationally recognised as a dynamic and liveable city that makes it easy to do creative business, and particularly, screen business. With its film-friendly culture, convenient lifestyle and Mediterranean climate; combined with lower living and production costs than any other Australian state capital, it’s the most cost-competitive city in the country.

In fact, production costs are lower than any other Australian capital city, with incentives like the South Australian Government’s successful 10 per cent rebates for post-production, digital and visual effects (SA PDV Rebate) and video games (SA VGD Rebate).

If you’re a VFX professional or video game developer — or want to become one — Adelaide is the place to be. The SAFC’s recent SAGE: SA Game Exhibition showed the huge popularity of this thriving and dynamic industry, with 18 local video game development studios showing off their works at Adelaide Studios to over 800 people.

Industry heavyweights are choosing to base themselves in our state, building a highly skilled workforce and partnering with training institutions to design the courses of the future – supporting a screen industry “screaming out” for skilled workers.

If you’re looking for a career with purpose and passion, make your mark in South Australia — Australia’s answer to Hollywood.

Discover careers in South Australia’s screen industry by visiting the Carers Hub, or visit the South Australian Film Corporation.