Some US$74m (A$131m) was spent on Australian feature film production in the 12 months up to June 30 - a sixty percent year on year increase. 30 films were produced in the same period - four more than in the previous year.
However, the latest figures are much the same as 1999/2000. The fluctuations evident from year to year in the Australian Film Commission's annual production survey, released today, are largely due to how many high budget films financed entirely from abroad are in the mix.
The year in review included The Crocodile Hunter and Swimming Upstream compared to none in the previous year.
When such films are removed from the statistics, the sources of finance remain pretty consistent. About US$19.7 (A$35m) per year is provided by government, particularly via the Australian Film Finance Corporation, and about US$9.5-10.1m (A$17-18m) comes from foreign sources. The rest is from private - particularly from the pilot Filmed Licensed Investment Companies (FLIC) scheme - and film and TV industry sources.
The comprehensive research reveals that 10 of the films cost less than US$563,000 (A$1m) each - most were "credit card" films. Fourteen cost from US$563,000-$3.4m (A$1 to A$6m) each, and only five had more than US$3.4m (A$6m to spend). These proportions are much the same as in previous years.
In addition to the 30 Australian films, there were two official Australian/UK co-productions worth US$22m (A$39m) - Black & White and The Kelly Gang. There were also seven foreign features, which spent US$104m (A$185m) in Australia compared to their total worth of US$210m (A$374m). They included the two Matrix sequels and Ghost Ship.
Adding the year's 49 local and foreign television dramas to the 39 features brings the total expenditure in Australia to US$373m (A$662m), an eight per cent rise on the previous year.