What happens to location incentives allocated to Metropolis?
$83.8m and $41.6m had been earmarked for Metropolis in govt funds before it was suddenly cancelled.
The loss of Metropolis from Melbourne after NBC Universal’s UCP cancelled it due to the ongoing US Writers’ Strike is disastrous for local production.
The Sam Esmail project was due to provide work to 700 cast and crew; employ 2,500 people directly on Metropolis and see 700 local businesses and service providers benefit.
MEAA screen crew organiser Paul Stanley told ABC, “Productions like this, at this scale, they don’t pop up overnight.
“They promise a lot of growth and investment in the industry, and opportunities for training and for people to skill up, so it does leave a void.
“People who were beginning their careers, that were going to be provided those opportunities and long-term jobs, they might go and find a job elsewhere.”
The project also had been allocated $83.8m by the federal govt and $41.6m by the Victorian govt in location incentives.
Under location incentive funding, the final payment is only made once final Australian expenditure is incurred on the production.
A spokesperson from the department of the arts confirmed no payments under the location incentive scheme have been made to the production because principal photography had not started.
The Victorian government says it is “disappointing” it won’t go ahead but the $41.6m incentive fee had not been paid yet.
“While the withdrawal of any production is disappointing, Victoria’s partnership with NBCU remains in place with a significant estimated expenditure to be delivered over the coming years,” a VicScreen spokesperson told Guardian Australia. “The funds initially earmarked for Metropolis will be allocated to another project or projects to be delivered through the partnership.”
Part of the deal included the Victorian government contributing $12.5m to the cost of building a virtual production facility at Docklands. VicScreen says the facility will be used for other productions and education and training activities.
Docklands Studios has been approached for comment.