Burning love: Why Elvis pic convinced Luhrmann to move base from NYC to GC

As far as word of mouth goes, Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is ready to rhapsodise about recommending Queensland’s film industry as a global powerhouse not only for shooting, but post-production.

Feb 22, 2022, updated Feb 23, 2022
Baz Luhrmann with City of Gold Coast arts and culture professional placement recruits, Eleea Navarro and Jordan Wilkinson. Image: City of Gold Coast

Baz Luhrmann with City of Gold Coast arts and culture professional placement recruits, Eleea Navarro and Jordan Wilkinson. Image: City of Gold Coast

Luhrmann has revealed his team based its year-long post-production process for his blockbuster Elvis biopic at the Gold Coast, and has moved his Bazmark Inq production company headquarters from New York to Miami.

The much-anticipated Elvis movie that is due in cinemas on 23 June 23, but which is touted as possibly premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was also shot almost entirely on the Gold Coast.

However, delivering the post-production for such a major film is a first for the city.

“We made the radical decision to not just come and shoot the film here, but to finish the movie the here too,” Luhrmann said.

“Post-production involves so many aspects. People think you shoot the movie and it is a quick dust up and off she goes.

“You actually make the movie in post-production and it involves every kind of artistic discipline, from music to digital effects, from grading to graphics.”

Film maker Baz Lurhmann with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the city’s screen, arts and culture initiatives aimed to attract, develop and retain talent to bolster the local industry’s reputation.

“To have arguably the greatest filmmaker of our time and the Bazmark production company located here is testament to our city’s potential as the screen capital of Australia,” he said.

Luhrmann said the technical expertise and creativity “bubbling up on the Gold Coast” was behind the production company’s decision to move its headquarters to Queensland.

“(It) makes it the most exciting place to be, not just for filmmakers, but for anyone interested in creativity and the arts,” he said.

“In the early 20th century, when filmmaking started out in New York, they spoke of a place with incredible beaches, wonderful sunlight and a sense that anything was possible. That place was called Hollywood,” Luhrmann said.

“Recently, in returning to the Coast after many years, my team has found a place of incredible beaches, unbelievable food, a can-do attitude and easily one of the best filmmaking facilities in the world.”

The official Elvis trailer was released Friday on YouTube and already has almost 8 million views.

The movie, which has taken almost three years to complete, is just one of a raft of major international productions to be filmed in Queensland as the state’s global reputation as the place to be for TV and film production continues to boom in the wake of the pandemic.

As well as offering locations from sparkling ocean, pristine coastlines and sub-tropical rainforest to contemporary city skylines, all within close proximity to world-class studios, it has been the skills of the local crews, that has been a key factor in luring the productions to Queensland.

Among the films underway in Queensland is George Clooney and Julia Roberts’  Ticket to Paradise being filmed from Hamilton Island in the state’s north to the Gold Coast.

Ron Howard’s epic Thirteen Lives was also filmed on location on the Gold Coast.

Media and entertainment giant Disney has just started filming its big-budget, high-end production of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo on the Gold Coast. The 10-part series called Nautilus is expected to inject $96 million into Queensland’s economy and create around 240 jobs for local cast and crew, as well as around 350 extras.

The strength of Queensland as a magnet for the international film industry saw Screen Queensland support 37 films, series and games, generating almost $300 million in production expenditure and 3,750 Queensland jobs in 2021.

That surge of international and domestic screen productions has continued into 2022.

“When I was growing up, you wanted to be creative, you left [Australia] … and never come back,” Luhrmann said.

“I think this new generation is in a place where you can actually go do your time around the world and grow … but absolutely, absolutely, you can do the work here.”

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