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30 October, 2020


The Labor Party’s election promise to invest $6.8 million in a film studio for Cairns has full support from local film industry professional John Baker.

By Tanya Murphy

John has been working in the film and television industry for 25 years, and his business Film Crew NQ supplies lighting, gripping and other equipment for film and television productions. 

He said I was “incredibly excited” for what would be a massive boost for his business and the region. “I’ve worked with countless large production companies who come from all over the world to shoot film, television and advertising projects in Far North Queensland because of our stunning locations, but at the moment they have to base themselves elsewhere. 

“With a studio in Cairns, major film companies would set up a base here and that would provide a huge boost to jobs and investment. “The film industry doesn’t just employ camera people and directors, it also employs electricians, builders, carpenters, mechanics, caterers, prop makers, dress makers, and more. 

“Film productions also bring in big teams of crew who stay in accommodation, eat at restaurants, and visit tourist attractions, a boost which Innisfail benefited from hugely during the filming of SBS series ‘Hungry Ghosts,’ which I was involved with last year. 

“If we have a lot of A-list celebrities hanging out in our city and region, and people around the world seeing the incredible and beautiful imagery shot in this region, it will also attract more tourists here, just like what ‘Lord of the Rings’ has done for New Zealand. 

“Cairns is perfectly placed to work symbiotically with the film industry on the Gold Coast, because we have direct flights between the two places, so a major production could easily work simultaneously in both places. “If a studio was built here, I would definitely have a lot more confidence to invest more money in my film business and purchase more equipment and vehicles. 

“At the moment I have another business which is an advertising agency, but my true passion is film and I’d be very excited to be able to make film my main job without having to leave FNQ, and I know a lot of my colleagues would feel the same.”

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