Screen Queensland Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program Danielle Ah Boo at the Screen Queensland Cairns studio opening with SBS Director of Indigenous Content Tanya Denning-Orman

by Nance Haxton

The official opening of Screen Queensland’s new studios in Cairns on Wednesday April 24 marks a significant milestone in the emergence of Far North Queensland as a vital hub in Australia’s screen sector.

The 12 million dollar studio facility in Cairns is already being used for productions, and includes a sound stage, production offices, edit suites and sound recording studio.

Torres Strait Islander woman Danielle Ah Boo is the screen agency’s first Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program.

She says the new studios are a significant investment that will lift up First Nations stories and bring great economic benefits in a region that’s had its share of natural disasters.

“When productions actually do enter into a region that they’re shooting in it brings in a lot of revenue a lot of jobs support for tourism there’s support through accommodation and catering,” Ms Ah Boo says.

“It certainly opens up a wide range of services and suppliers to access all those opportunities that productions will bring into the region.

“We had a beautiful cultural opening – it was absolutely magical. Because of the all the benefits that will come to the region it really shone a light on Far North Queensland.”

Ms Ah Boo says the new studio will be a hub of creativity for the region, enabling First Nations artists to tell their own stories without having to travel to the Queensland’s south-east.

“For our First Nations practitioners up there and surrounding communities but importantly much easier access to the Torres Strait as well, so it really opens up a gateway to surrounding commmunities including the Torres Strait,” she says.

“The facilities are equipped to be able to go from the start of principle photography all the way through to post production, so very world class. It’s certainly going to be a thriving industry up there in the next few years as we continue to grow.”

The new studios include a sound stage, production offices, edit suites and sound recording studio, which Ms Ah Boo hopes will become a hub of creativity for the region.

“So for our First Nations creatives – how do we support more of our storytelling, how do we upskill?,” she says.

“Now with our Cairns Studio opening – how do we upskill more of our talents up in Far North Queensland? How do we reach the whole state? So we are creating more opportunities for our mob.”