Local businesses say the City of Fremantle’s attempts to promote itself as a filmmaking destination are currently doing them more harm than good.
Fremantle Traders Association claim production crews close streets, fail to notify local businesses, and bring in their own suppliers instead of spending locally.
While Fremantle Council insist filmmaking injects funds into the area, FTA CEO Mia Kriznic said more was needed to be done to support traders already struggling because of COVID lockdowns and ongoing roadworks in the West End.
“It should be compulsory to prioritise [Fremantle] businesses,” Ms Kriznic said.
Fremantle acting mayor Andrew Sullivan said the film industry does contribute to the local economy.
“[We] try and get them to use local businesses wherever possible, but it’s not always possible,” Mr Sullivan said.
“Some local businesses don’t understand that.”
The council says 71 projects have been approved under the city’s Film Friendly Policy in the past financial year, including local comedy-drama How to Please a Woman, which received $750,000 funding from Screenwest’s 2019 West Coast Visions initiative and started shooting last week.
High Street Dispensary owner Raquel Viney and her landlord Shane Braddock said some producers were bringing in their own caterers despite being given the details of suitable local businesses.
“It would have been better to make a deal with a café,” Ms Viney said.
Mr Braddock said there should be a database of interested local businesses who can work with film productions.
A council spokesperson confirmed that a database was being developed.
Blink Coffee Bar owner Sergio Guazzelli said his street was closed without warning for a council-supported shoot last August.
A large truck blocked the entrance to Mr Guazzelli’s café for a day and a coffee van was set up less than 50m from his door to serve the cast and crew.
Mr Guazelli, whose turnover dropped more than 50 per cent during filming, received an apology but no compensation.
“It was insulting and unprofessional … I was ropeable,” he said.
The production companies involved did not respond to questions from The Quenda.
Mr Guazzelli believes filmmaking can be a windfall for Fremantle if managed properly.
“If we were notified better and everybody got even a token gesture – the crew all get vouchers or whatever – everybody should get a bump out of it,” Mr Guazzelli said.
That’s the sort of vibrancy I want to see.”
Breglia’s Piccolo Café owner Christina Breglia agreed.
“Anything that brings interest down the West End is a wonderful thing,” Ms Breglia said.
“Just don’t block the streets off.”