The Australian state of Victoria has secured the highly anticipated 10-part television adaptation of Gregory David Roberts’ best-selling novel Shantaram, set to commence filming in Melbourne in October.
Shantaram will inject AUD$46 million into the Victorian economy, generating over 330 jobs for local cast and crew, and more than 1,000 employment opportunities in total, utilising the services of more than 500 local businesses over its 11 month production schedule.
Produced by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, Shantaram follows hot on the heels of US TV hit Preacher, which completed filming in Victoria in June.
Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said he looked forward to the production generating significant employment and skills development opportunities for Victorian creatives.
“We’re delighted that Shantaram will showcase our state and the talent of our creatives to an audience of millions around the world,” said Minister Foley.
“Attracting a production of this scale to Victoria further shows why we are the creative and cultural capital of Australia.”
Based on his dramatic and extraordinary true story of life on the run after escaping a Melbourne prison, Roberts’ debut novel was a global sensation when it was released in 2003. Shantaram has been published in 39 languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
With a storyline spanning Melbourne and Mumbai, Shantaram will be based at Docklands Studios Melbourne, with all Melbourne scenes, and some Mumbai scenes, to shoot in Victoria.
Shantaram was secured through a partnership between the Australian Government and Victorian State Government. The Federal Government will provide $7.4 million for the production through its Location Incentive program, while the Victorian Government is supporting the production through Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said he was pleased to support the adaptation of the iconic Australian novel.
“Shantaram is a mesmerising Australian story and this series will bring it to life for a new generation, creating further jobs for our world-class screen industry,” said Minister Fletcher.
Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher said Victoria is perfectly positioned to benefit from the global production boom, leveraging its talented crews and award-winning screen businesses, which are firmly cementing the State’s reputation for high-end television production.
“Film Victoria’s increased focus on international markets, including the US, helped drive a record $251 million in direct production expenditure for the state in the last financial year, up 18 per cent on the year prior. We’ve also seen a 46 per cent increase in pitch requests form Australian and international crews wanting to film here.
“Securing productions such as Shantaram for Victoria, which comes hot off the back of hit US series Preacher, builds on this momentum, generating jobs and skills development opportunities for our local industry, and creating a pipeline of production for the future.”
Shantaram was attracted with the assistance of Ausfilm, a public/private partnership organisation that promotes Australia’s world-class screen capability globally.