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Leading producer Bob Fitzgerald. Leading producer Bob Fitzgerald. Featured
05 May 2019 Posted by 


Our natural assets a film maker's dream

THE Central Coast needs its own Film Commission to promote and coordinate movie making and to become “film friendly” according to leading producer Bob Fitzgerald.

Film Commissions have been a resounding success around the world with the most spectacular example being Film Maui in Hawaii which attracted some of the world’s biggest productions to its shores.

The Coast is a film maker’s dream with beautiful rainforests, the world’s best beaches, quiet waterways, rural areas and a splendid mix of residential styles ranging from fibro cottages to ultimate luxury homes and apartments.

All it lacks is a large soundstage to complete the package, but this is not a major stumbling block in this day and age with facilities available nationwide.

Mr Fitzgerald is spokesman for Coast OnScreen, is a not for profit organisation based on the Coast.

Its mission is to foster a sustainable Film and TV industry in our region through production, education, skills training, networking and collaboration.

Short web series

Coast OnScreen produces short films and short web series, with a vision to produce a TV pilot and features in the future. Coast OnScreen also runs occasional courses in screen production.

Its most recent promotion was the excellent “Silver Screen”, a free film making course for over 50’s. This program was part of the NSW Seniors Festival with funding from FACS.

Mr Fitzgerald said Coast OnScreen had been working in the background to foster government initiative to develop a film industry on the Central Coast.

“The Hunter has it with Screen Hunter,” he said (www.screenhunter.com.au).

Mr Fitzgerald pointed to Tasmania and Northern Territory as similar population regions to the Coast achieving great things through their Film Commissions.

“We have a population of 340,000 yet Tasmania and NT with fewer people both have full blown Film Commissions, Screen Tasmania and Screen Territory, to support what have become thriving employment sectors.”

“The damming example of the state of filmmaking here is that the ABC’s two part series ‘The Secret River’, telling the story of the pioneer settlement of the Central Coast was actually filmed in Gippsland Victoria, because the producers deemed the Central Coast too film unfriendly to shoot it here.”

Recently 22 people attended a Central Coast filmmaker community consultation session to discuss the future potential.

“We had a broad range of the Coast’s film making interests present - actors, stunt people, writers, producers, directors, composers, camera operators and post production representatives.”

Industry growth

“It was a very enlightening focus workshop with clear agreement on the direction needed for the growth of a vibrant filmmaking community and industry on the Central Coast.

“The discussion notes and output recommendations were passed on to Stuart Slough from Central Coast Council at the end of the night. Stuart and the team are developing the Central Coast Councils Arts and Cultural plan.”

Mr Fitzgerald said a bonus from the night was the networking that took place, with many new connections made. “This is so important in the word of mouth, collaborative area that film making is.”

“It’s clear that there is a lot of local filmmaking energy and that if we can turn that into a collective momentum the Central Coast can really become a special place for making films.

“Next step is to not lose the collective group energy from the meeting and gather that momentum,” he said.

Mr Fitzgerald believes Coast Onscreen can develop into the region’s Film Commission with assistance from the State Government and Central Coast Council.

It would provide a permanent source of income for industry members and importantly, nationwide and worldwide exposure for the coast. This would in turn lead to an increase in tourism for the coast.

A prime example is our neighbor Palm Beach which has thrived because of its worldwide exposure on “Home and Away”.

FOOTNOTE: The Central Coast was a key part of early movie making in Australia. Many leading productions in the formative years were shot in the East Gosford area. You can read the history by following the inlaid history path on the footpath at the shopping centre.


Michael Walls
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.