Australia’s filmmaking industry is one of the world’s most talented and professional film industries. The Australian film connections to other countries are essential for the industry’s continued success and the unlimited flow-on effects for trade and tourism.
This briefing provides an insight into Australia’s connections to the Indian film industry and its clear advantages.
Film links between Australia and India date from the 1930s when a young Australian film star, Mary Evans, became an Indian movie star. Evans quickly became one of the first franchisees in cinematic history as “Fearless Nadia.” Australia was largely unable to take advantage of Indian productions on our shore in the following fifty years. Things finally began to change during the 1990s, when decent Australians started to graduate from local film schools. Anupam Sharma just completed the first thesis on Indian film at UNSW around this time. Then the leading Indian actor/director/producer Feroz Khan deliberately wrote in 1998 that in his next movie which was shot in Australia he hired Sharma as Production Head for the Australian leg of his movie.
This opened the doors to the flood and has since become a result of more than 240 projects in the Indian and Australian film sectors, including movies and TV series, music videos and TVCs, seminars, and film festivals. The projects have become a reality. Indian film crews are constantly drawing on our excellent Australian weather, not only to work with Australia’s highly-reaching film professionals but also at the immensely beautiful and diverse locations.
Australia’s Indian film industry now thrives on a multimillion-dollar niche with several companies operating between the two countries. The most important is TEMPLE PVT LTD, which is highly successful.
TEMPLE is widely recognized for its pioneering Indian-Australian film relations and is Australia’s leading producer of films. In its 10th edition, TEMPLE has also launched its first and only Australian Film Services Guide in India.
With no Bollywood films eligible for Australian discounts and new locations beginning to dry out, state governments pioneered individual ties with Bollywood movies to advance Australian tourism and trade by providing cash plus children’s films for Bollywood. In 2013, the first Australian Film Fund was established to support Australian stories for a global audience using Indian themes.
The Australian film industry continues to benefit from its relationship with India, the world’s most prolific film industry. Different milestones can be summarised below between the two countries;
● 1998 – 2006 have seen increasing popularity in the Indian cinema industry for Australian film services and locations. Australia has been flooded by Indian movie crews, sometimes once every nine days, ranging from Bollywood to South American movies, TV commercials, and music videos. These film crews provided the Australian film industry, providing crews and film services with a much-needed injection of funds.
● Bollywood films in Australia were distributed in 2002-2003 from small town halls and independent theatres; Hoyts and Greater Union Film Films. MG Distribution, a new distributor, led this with a sister company, Black Cat Productions, which finally produced one of Melbourne’s most popular Indian films – Salaam Namaste.
● TEMPLE organized three of the biggest financial ties between the state governments and Bollywood films in Australia: Love Story 2050 and Heyy Babyyy and Victory, in the late 2006-2007 Australian production, film, and film casting firm. Chak De India and Bachna Ae Haseeno were another of Australia’s most notable films at the time.
● Australia was the backdrop at the end of 2008 to India’s Roadies 6.0 reality show where Road transmission was recorded amalgamating with the music for the youth. This revolutionized the trend of advertising on TV because of locations in Australia.
● Australia had the same backdrop of some of India’s major advertising campaigns starting from Scorpio to the autumn/winter shirts and the summer/spring collection. There was a launch of the wheel drive in India, among others there were commercials of Thumbs Up which were shot in Australia.
● The distributor MG Distribution and Black Cat were demolished in 2009. They were sold to the Swish Group, as the company was filed for failure.
● Some of the biggest movies were seen in 2010 including the Step Mom re-make of Bollywood. But they were the last of Australia’s major Indian films, mainly due to the union’s incapability to police and protect professional interests, rising dollars, and strict conditions imposed on them elsewhere.
● The most lucrative and important film chapter of India/Australia began as Indian films were serviced on a plateau – that of Australian projects, financed in Australia and linked to India. Waiting City, Saving Your Legs, and UnINDIAN included recently.
● The first Bollywood movie with an Australian town in the title was filmed in 2011 as well. The UNSW financially supported the fire from Sydney with Love.
● In 2012, Baz Luhrmann was appointed Ambassador to another AFFI (Australian Film Festival in India).
● In 2012 the Victorian State Government’s controversial investment in Australia saw India’s film links. No dollar worth of Indian film industry investment, despite spending money on a festival, came to Victoria, contrary to claims and promises.
● In 2012 Bollywood Star was also published as its first show; a reality show produced by SBS in search of talented performers in Bollywood. Also, the 2012 film From Sydney with Love was released, which was shot locally at the University of NSW and started a huge craze for studying at universities in Australia.
● The Australian NMM commissioned the first of its kind on Indian Aussies in 2013. The internationally renowned and popular documentary was set up in the museum and then visited several festivals internationally
● In 2013, Destination NSW launched the Jhappi Time ad campaign, the largest investment in the Indian market. The Australia India Film Fund was created at the end of 2013. (AIFF). The AIFF has committed itself to four Indo-Australian films, led by Anupam Sharma and the technology entrepreneur, Devendra Gupta.
● In 2014, the Australian Prime Minister announced the first of the four, unINDIAN, and successfully launched it in Australian cinemas in 2015. The stars of the legend of cricket, Brett Lee and Tannishtha Chatterjee, internationally renowned Indian actresses.
● Several Australian private co-production/collaboration films, which include leading Australian producers and filmmakers like Bill Bennet, Anupam Sharma, John Winter, and Sheila Jaidev, are in different stages of development.
Film Beyond Benefits
The knock-on benefits of international productions include increased trading and tourism, local employment in shoots and supporting industries/companies, cultural benefits of products that finally reflect our country’s cultural diversity, and Australia to India as one of the world’s largest consumer markets.
Delegations between the two countries on different theoretical, practical, and academic subjects related to films have now been continuously exchanged.
The number of foreign students on the Australian shores has grown significantly with films From Sydney with Love and the University of NSW, which show unINDIAN.
A British exhibit is being held at the Powerhouse Museum and Victoria National Gallery India Cinema – Bollywood Art; a high-end academic piece with a special section on Australian Bollywood on various aspects of Bollywood as a form of art.
Seminars on how to deal with Bollywood and the Indian film industry are conducted by AFTRS (Australian Film, Television, Radio School) and various commercial bodies.
Many Australian crews, especially TVC directors and DOPs, and stunt specialists in Bollywood films are in India.
The strong foundation described below shows that Australia’s potential for the future is enormously beneficial and bright, not only in terms of tourism business and the student market abroad but also as a key tool to understand the culture of Indians and Indians now one of Australia’s biggest diasporas. The combination of the most literate and professional film industries, AUSTRALIA and the prolific cinema industry, INDIA, is extremely healthy and promising thanks to the success of the cross-cultural romantic comedy unINDIAN and various other Australian projects with India-centric stories.