The West

Big screen chance for local talent
Lead actor in Fog, Dean Daly-Jones, acting out a scene during filming at Amelup service station last Friday.

Aspiring local filmmakers and actors had the chance of a lifetime when Melbourne-based production company ArenaMedia brought the filming for its upcoming big-screen adaptation of Tim Winton’s bestselling anthology The Turning to the Great Southern last week.

Shooting for Fog, based on a story of the same name included in the book, took place between Wednesday and Saturday at various locations in the Stirling Ranges, including Bluff Knoll carpark and Amelup service station.

About 25 cast and crew from interstate and WA were joined by 25 locally sourced extras across the four-day shoot.

The film casts lead actor Dean Daly-Jones in the role of a 1980s policeman who gets lost in the wilderness during a search-and-rescue for a missing hiker, along with the cadet journalist following the unfolding story.

The Stirling Ranges location was chosen because Winton’s childhood home of Albany and surrounds was inspiration for the story and much of The Turning.

Director Jonathan auf der Heide, who spent a week living at the 1848 Backpackers on Stirling Terrace before filming began, said the local community had been welcoming and eager to help.

“If you throw the name Tim Winton around, people tend to take notice,” he said.

“I got a great response from everyone. I think I spoke to 45 people in a three-hour period, so I got to meet a lot of people.

“It was an overwhelmingly lovely response, really.”

The film is based on one of 17 short stories in the anthology, first published in 2004, with each set to be made into a short film over coming months before 10 will be chosen to comprise the final film, scheduled to premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival next August.

The remaining seven short films will likely screen at another date.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the film provided a chance to highlight the Great Southern and could open up more film opportunities for the region.

High-profile Australian film talents including Cate Blanchett, David Wenham and Hugo Weaving are involved in the project.

Mr auf der Heide said filming so far outside the metropolitan area was rare, but it had paid off with authenticity and community engagement.

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