Lights, camera, action
By JENNIFER HUXLEY
IT is pretty unlikely that movie buffs and film aficionados regard the Northen Rivers region as Australia's Hollywood, but to lay such a claim would not be as frivolous as it may sound.
Four years ago a survey of film and multimedia industries in the region was conducted, revealing Northen Rivers to be the third largest centre for the screen industry in Australia, with 4.1 per cent of the region's workforce engaged in the sector.
A new survey is currently being undertaken to determine the extent of the growth of local screen industries, the nature of projects being undertaken, and obstacles and issues facing local producers.
The survey is being conducted by local filmmaker and screen industry researcher, Cathy Henkel, as part of her PhD research into the growth of the region's creative industries.
Ms Henkel said the first sur- vey had a 'profound effect' on the local industry, resulting in the attainment of a regional development grant and the establishment of Screenworks - the film, television and multimedia industries office for the Northern Rivers.
"After the first survey we developed 10 strategies to aid the development of the industry, now every single one has been achieved," Ms Henkel said.
"Now we need to update the current data, identify the current needs, and develop a new set of strategies ... we need to understand the needs of the local industry.
Whiporie-based filmmaker Cate McQuillen, who is developing the children's television project Hit it', is one local who claims to have reaped the benefits of the initial survey.
"The creation and profile of Screenworks has made things relatively easy, I honestly believe that we would not have had as much ease stepping into mainstream film in any other regional area," she said.