Skip to content


That’s a wrap on 2023

Features  17 Dec 2023

It’s been a big year for Victoria’s screen industry, with our world-leading talent and stories hitting screens around the world. Check out some of our highlights from the year below. 

Local projects lit up our screens 

From the mind-bending word game Gubbins, to the life-affirming documentary The Defenders, it's been a vast and varied year for Victorian projects. We saw the return of Victoria's much-loved, longest-running drama Neighbours, and television's golden couple, Helen Norville and Dale Jennings in The Newsreader. Melbourne's favourite flawed family also returned in Love Me, and John Farnham: Finding the Voice became the highest grossing Australian documentary of all time. 
 Hugo Weaving on the set of Love Me S2. Photo by Ben King

Regional Victoria continued to steal the show

Local and international productions continued to find beauty and mystique in our regional communities. In 2023 we saw the second season of teen surfing drama Surviving Summer set up production on Victoria’s famed Great Ocean Road beaches; megastars Paul Mescal and Saoirse Ronan showed off the stunning, but eerie, Winton Wetlands in sci-fi Foe; and crime-thriller lovers can see a host of regional Victorian towns in the new Stan series Scrublands.

Luke Arnold playing Martin Scarsden behind the scenes on location for Scrublands. Photo by Sarah Enticknap

Hollywood came to town

Two international feature films kicked off the year. Ricky Stanicky, directed by Academy Award winner Peter Farrelly, staring John Cena and Zac Efron, and Sleeping Dogs, directed by Adam Cooper, starring Russell Crowe. These productions provided a welcome boost to the industry, employing close to 1,500 Victorians and utilising a number of small businesses.

On the set of Ricky Stanicky, (L-R) Peter Farrelly (Director), Jermaine Fowler, Andrew Santino, The Hon Steve Dimopolous (Former Minister for Creative Industries), Caroline Pitcher (CEO VicScreen), Zac Efron and John Cena.

NantStudios built the world’s largest LED volume in Melbourne

Leading virtual production company, NantStudios, chose Melbourne as the home for their latest virtual production stages. Two LED in-camera VFX stages, including the world's largest LED volume, were launched at Docklands Studios Melbourne, providing an unparalleled level of creative flexibility for the new era of filmmaking. Discover more about this world-leading screen technology here

NantStudios largest Volume LED at Docklands Studios Melbourne. 

An epic year for games

Play Now Melbourne - Australia's pre-eminent games market - introduced some of the country’s most promising game makers to the world’s leading game publishers. A group of 42 developer teams met with representatives from 15 publishers/platforms and holders/investors. 
Local games Gubbins by Studio Folly, Moving Out 2 by SMG studio and Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical by Summerfall Studios also released in 2023 to local and international fanfare. 

Victorian talents and projects excelled at international film festivals and awards ceremonies

VicScreen-supported projects took on the international festival circuit in 2023 with Shayda and Run Rabbit Run opening at Sundance, Late Night with the Devil premiering at SXSW, and Sweet As scooping up awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, Māoriland, and Berlinale. Shayda was also nominated for a MIFF Bright Horizons Award. Massive Monster’s Cult of the Lamb won the WSA Game Music Award, Studio Folly’s Gubbins collected the Excellence in Sound Design AGDA, and Summerfall Studios collected the coveted AGDA Game of the Year Award, as well as a Grammy nomination for its score in Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical.
 Writer/Director Jub Clerc at Berlinale with her Crystal Bear award for Sweet As

Investing in skills

A news skills package was announced to fast-track jobs behind the scenes in screen, including on the set of Neighbours with the revitalized Neighbours Training Program. VicScreen also backed three talented interns at Melbourne's Summerfall Studios who helped deliver the highly anticipated game, Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. In total, VicScreen supported 195 skills development opportunities in 2023. We spoke to two of these alums about upskilling their screen credentials through various VicScreen training initiatives and pathways. 

Summerfall Studios interns Chantel Eagle, Karly Taylor, and Alissa Vovers 

VicScreen meets SXSW in Austin, Texas

Victoria's screen talents were on display at Australia House, SXSW in Austin this year. Presented in partnership with Massive Monster, Princess Bento Studio, Nant Studios and Epic Games, it was a big 10 days featuring a panel discussion about the infinite frontier of virtual production, film premieres, and game plays. Click through our photo gallery below to see some of the highlights.

Panellists Caroline Pitcher (VicScreen CEO), Lara Cawsey, Kathryn Brillhart and Jennifer McSpadden. Photo courtesy of American Australian Association.

VicScreen backs new voices in screen

The inaugural Originate Features program saw four feature films greenlit for production with game-changing funding for emerging screen writers. Originate Factual was launched supporting 12 homegrown producers, writers, and directors to develop high-end documentary series. Originate Series commenced, escalating and upskilling Victorian writers looking to propel their careers in television, and Originate Games continued to support game developers with grants of up to $50,000 for early project development. Eleven First Nations writers also congregated in Shepperton on Yorta Yorta country in November for the First Peoples Writer’s Workshop, which culminated in a day of pitching new screen projects. 

Originate Features finalists, (L-R) Kalu Oji, Rosie Lourde, Hannah Ngo, Ivy Mutuku, Mimo Mukii, Katie Found, Adrian Chiarella and Harvey Zielinski. Photography: Sarah Chavdaroska

New rebate to power up games, VFX and animation

We launched a new $15 million rebate designed to attract international projects to the state and support local companies to create bold original content in games, VFX, and post-production. 
 Announcing the Victorian Digital Screen Rebate (VDSR) at ACMI. Left to right: Former Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos and Hipster Whale CEO Clara Reeves. Photo by Daniel Mahon.

Melbourne’s film festivals dazzled audiences this year

From Melbourne Queer Film Festival to the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, our state’s film festivals lit up Melbourne’s nightlife, with almost 300,000 Victorians attending film festivals in August alone. 

This year’s Melbourne International Film Festival saw VicScreen-supported projects Shayda make its Australian premiere and Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story celebrated its world premiere. The spotlight shone on Victorian filmmakers, with VicScreen-supported documentary This Is Going To Be Big collecting both the MIFF Audience Award and the MIFF Schools Youth Jury Award. Check out some of our favourite moments from IFFM here, and hear from the MIFF Bright Horizon finalists here.  
On the red carpet at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards Night 2023

Victorian kids content soared in 2023

A slew of VicScreen children’s projects arrived on our screens in 2023 including Crazy Fun Park, Turn Up The Volume, Wildlifers, Surviving Summer S2, Little J and Big Cuz S4, The Strange Chores and Spooky Files. It was a standout year for children’s projects, with more in the production pipeline including the Stan feature Windcatcher

A production still from Season 3 of Little J & Big Cuz

Want to be part of the action? Subscribe to our newsletter here