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22 October, 2021

Hollywood in the tropics

HOLLYWOOD in the Tropics will soon become a reality with the announcement of the long awaited FNQ Soundstage.

By Peter McCullagh

This week the Queensland government in association with Screen Queensland announced the new production facility will be built in the old Bunnings building on Spence Street.

The 6,500 square metre build had recently been converted to a pop-up basketball stadium for the Cairns Taipans to use during the renovation of the Cairns Convention Centre.

Far North Queensland is a production mecca and location marvel for film and television. The opening of a fully equipped sound stage will attract additional projects as well as lengthen the stay of many of the national and international production companies using the north as a scenic backdrop for their projects.

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt, a long-term supporter of this project is excited by the announcement.

“This studio is ideally located five minutes from the (Cairns) CBD, 13 minutes from the airport and with excellent access to the southern corridor highway.

“Far North Queensland is famed in the industry for its picture-perfect tropical and coastal locations, so the construction of this state-of-the-art facility will provide much-needed infrastructure to cater to the creative and logistical needs of local and visiting productions.”

“In the past we’ve attracted productions based entirely on our location,” he said.

“That won’t change. The difference is some will now base their entire production here instead of just part of it.

“Instead of a footprint of several weeks, it might be several months.”

Currently under production in Mission Beach is the Universal Studios Group production Irreverent, a Matchbox Pictures’ drama series supported by Screen Queensland.

Once completed the studio complex will house a sound stage and support facilities including production offices, construction, wardrobe, and hair and makeup departments, along with an events space and permanent creative tenancy opportunities.

The Screen Queensland Head of Studios Derek Hall said the facility will function as a vital creative hub for the city of Cairns and FNQ region.

“With this new complex in Cairns, Screen Queensland will soon be operating a network of studios across the state – that’s massive for Queensland and an exciting opportunity for local crew and creatives to have such a facility in their own backyard,” Mr Hall said.

Construction on the new facility will commence early 2022 and is estimated to be operational by mid-2022.

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