/News 29.09.17

Meet the Create NSW Screen Destination Attraction Team

Witnessing Create NSW’s Screen Destination Attraction Team in action one might be forgiven for thinking they are entering an emergency call centre or more accurately, an air traffic control tower.

Eavesdropping near their desks, it’s not unusual to hear phone calls along the following lines:

Matt: “Yes, we do have Mongolian horses in Australia – actually you can find any breed of horse you want here – I’m not sure however, how well trained our pet emus are. I’ve heard it’s a bit like trying to train chickens… From what you have told me, you might like to also consider the 30% PDV Offset … yes, our team administers the State (tax) Incentive…”

Cheryl: “When are you arriving from overseas… did you say next week? Have you secured your visas? Yes, you do need permits to shoot in Sydney… we would highly recommend you engage a local production facilitator as soon as possible…”

Mechele: “I’m sorry but you can’t refuse a filming application just because it’s summer… Are you aware of the local government filming protocol that governs filming in NSW? Ok… I will send you the link. In the meantime, I’d be very happy to help you with the situation…”

Shannon: “Yes, NSW has locations that will double for rural Kansas, yes and Texas… no, we don’t have wheat fields or corn crops within 20 minutes of Sydney’s CBD but not too far… if you send us a script I can prepare a location package for you…”

Mark: “Yes, Fox Studios Australia is 10 minutes from Sydney’s CBD… Yes, 10 minutes, sometimes less depending on the traffic…”

This small but highly experienced team of production professionals market New South Wales as a filming destination, administer the State Incentive, pitch NSW locations, cast, crew and facilities, and implement the NSW Local Government Filming Protocol, which involves working closely with industry members and State and Local Government authorities that permit locations. Create NSW also works in partnership with Ausfilm to facilitate international inbounds and scouts that attract jobs and investment dollars to the State. Since 2008, NSW’s screen destination team has attracted more than AUD$1.6 billion in production and post-production work to NSW.

In short, the team can help you with any aspect of filming in NSW. They are ready and on hand to answer any question on State and Federal Incentives, locations, technical and creative talent, studio space, post-production and visual effects facilities, and can give you the strategic advice you need when it comes to production matters.

Matt Carroll
Senior Manager

Leading the team, Matt is one of Australia’s leading producers for over 30 years. Matt has produced or executive produced 16 feature films – including a number of Australia’s iconic films: Sunday Too Far Away, Storm Boy and the Oscar®-nominated, Breaker Morant.  He has also produced TV movies, mini-series, documentaries and over 500 hours of TV drama, including the award-winning, USA / Australian sci-fi series, Farscape. Not only does Matt bring the creative, production and financial skills required to execute such a large body of work to his role, he brings the experience of managing some of the industry’s most successful production companies, including the South Australian Film Corporation and Roadshow, Coote and Carroll. Matt has attracted numerous high-profile productions to NSW including Hacksaw Ridge, Pacific Rim: Uprising and most recently was integral in bringing the upcoming Jackie Chan movie Bleeding Steel to Sydney.

Cheryl Conway
Manager, Screen Destination Attraction

Cheryl has extensive experience across production, development and international production attraction. In addition to experience as an independent producer, throughout her career Cheryl has worked between the USA and Australia with market leaders including Paramount Pictures, Spelling Entertainment, Warner Bros., Fox Broadcasting Company, NBC, Discovery, the South Australian Film Corporation, Ausfilm USA, Network Ten Australia, and Screen Producers Australia. While at Screen NSW, Cheryl was critically involved in attracting and supporting on the ground large-scale international productions such as The Wolverine, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Great Gatsby, as well as all domestic productions shooting in New South Wales. Cheryl recently returned from the USA to join the team.

Mechele Axford
Screen Destination Attraction Lead

Mechele brings a diverse screen background to the team spanning production, distribution, marketing and publicity. During her career, Mechele has worked as a producer’s assistant to Oscar®-winning Australian producer Emile Sherman on Candy as well as other films Disgrace, $9.99 and Opal Dream; and to producer Jo Porter on the popular Australian TV comedy Packed to the Rafters. From a promotions and publicity perspective, she worked at Paramount Pictures Australia across a slate of tentpole films including J.J Abrams’ Star Trek, DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon and Marvel’s Thor, through to local productions Tomorrow When the War Began and Transmission Films’ Oscar®-winning The King’s Speech. Most recently Mechele was Communications Manager at global arts and entertainment consultancy, NIXCo, working with clients such as Madman Entertainment on That Sugar Film and Partisan; and as lead on Beyond Films’ Australian publicity tour with James Cameron (Deepsea Challenge 3D) for Label Distribution.

Shannon Wheeler
Screen Destination Attraction Co-ordinator 

Shannon hails from Austin, Texas, is a graduate of Wellesley College and has a MGA from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to moving to Australia and joining Screen NSW in 2002, Shannon worked for the Texas Film Commission, working closely with regional and city film commissioners to promote local locations, crews and screen businesses. Shannon has extensive experience in preparing location presentations, promoting NSW Government incentives and facilitating both international and domestic inbounds in order to create screen industry jobs and inject investment into the State. Just some of the high-profile productions Shannon has been involved with include The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine, Hacksaw Ridge, Alien: Covenant and Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Mark Wakefield
Screen Destination Attraction Officer

Mark recently joined the Create NSW team, bringing with him nearly thirty years of NSW Government Human Resources and administration experience with a strong focus on customer service throughout his career. Mark is therefore not only the perfect choice to communicate and welcome domestic and international screen visitors and talent, but also one of the most organised people you are likely to meet!

For more information, any queries or to stay in touch, email the team on [email protected]