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Tasmanian Treasure

Australia pushes its lesser-known state as an emerging filming destination

Tasmania is a compact Australian island-state which boasts a gorgeous unspoilt natural environment. The island is separated by the Bass Strait from Australia. Known as the Natural State, 37 per cent of Tasmania covers preserved sites, parks and world heritage sites. The capital, Hobart, is located on the estuary of the Derwent River.

Hobart is a busy seaport. Other distinctive features include the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which is a beautiful recreation area. Mount Wellington is another key characteristic in the skyline of Hobart. The Hobart Synagogue is not only the oldest in Australia but a rare surviving example of an Egyptian restoration site.

The grazing lands, water bodies, mountains and river walks are artistically amalgamated with striking facades that make Tasmania a very picturesque locale. So whether a romantic set-up, a thriller or a mystery, this destination offers a robust list of locales, which have never been framed before. 

To sum up, the state is a filmmaker’s delight in terms of locations and incentives provided by the film commission, Screen Australia. There are three types of incentives that can be availed by production houses to achieve maximum returns.

CLIMATE:

Tasmania has a cool, temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Summer lasts from December to February, when the average maximum sea temperature is 21 °C and inland areas around Launceston reach 24 °C. Other inland areas are much cooler, with Liawenee, located on the Central Plateau, being one of the coldest places in Australia. Temperatures range between 4 °C and 17 °C in February.

Autumn lasts between March and May and brings changeable weather. The winter months are between June and August and are generally the wettest and coolest months in the state, with most high lying areas receiving considerable snowfall. Winter maximums are 12 °C on average along coastal areas, and 3 °C on the central plateau, as a result of a series of cold fronts from the Southern Ocean.

INCENTIVES

The Producer Offset is a refundable tax rebate for producers of feature films. It is administered by Screen Australia. It was introduced by the Australian Government in 2007 as one of the three offsets under the Australian Screen Production Incentive, designed to increase production and help the Australian industry grow.

The Producer Offset is worth:

• 40 per cent of Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE) incurred on a feature film

• 20 per cent of QAPE incurred on programmes other than feature filmsThe Producer Offset is paid through the Australian company tax system after a project is completed and Screen Australia has issued the production company with a Final Certificate. Largely, to be certified, a film or programme must have the following criteria:

• The project must be completed

• Screen Australia must be satisfied that it has significant Australian content or it must be an official co-production

• The film must be of an eligible format 

• Its Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE) must meet or exceed the relevant threshold

• The applicant company must be an Australian company or a foreign company with an Australian permanent residency and an Australian Business Number (ABN)

• The applicant company must have either carried out or made arrangements to carry out, all the activities necessary for making the film or programme.

The company can apply at any time for a Provisional Certificate, which will provide guidance, based on the information submitted, on whether the production is likely to qualify for the Producer Offset. The other two offsets under the Australian Screen Production Incentive are administered by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA).

• The Location Offset, a 15-per cent offset on the QAPE of a large-budget non-Australian film• The PDV Offset, a 15-per cent offset on the QAPE that relates to post, digital and visual effects production

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