Feature films are set to become a staple of the Margaret River economy, with two major Australian projects setting their sights on the district for possible shooting locations.
Margaret River was confirmed on the shortlist this week for the long anticipated movie adaptation of Tim Winton’s The Turning, a collection of short stories that includes actress Cate Blanchett as a director.
Also in the wings is US-funded thriller Kill Me Three Times, set in the Australian surf town of “Eagle’s Nest”, to be co-produced by Death At A Funeral’s Laurence Malkin.
WA Minister for Culture and Arts John Day announced yesterday the Government had committed $175,000 to The Turning and producer Maggie Miles told the Times at least six chapters of the film would be shot in WA.
“It makes sense to see if we can identify areas in Margaret River as it so beautifully complements the story,” Ms Miles said.
“We’re looking at locations around Busselton (tomorrow) and certainly will be having a good look around Margaret River.”
Kill Me Three Times producer Tania Chambers said she was in the process of reviewing suitable filming sites for the 2014-scheduled film and confirmed her team had already reviewed locations in Margaret River and Augusta.
“The South West region of WA has some gorgeous locations, which may suit our film,” Mrs Chambers told the Times.
“We have had the opportunity to scout the region from Denmark and Albany, through to Augusta, Margaret River, Yallingup and Busselton.”
Drift producer Tim Duffy said Margaret River had caught the eye of several international filmmakers during market screenings at Cannes in May.
“I have explained how the region offers a lot of variety of spectacular locations in a relatively small area,” he said.
“There are a lot of factors that make an area take off as a film location, but the first step is recognition and recommendations, and that is happening with producers seeing Drift as it moves around the world’s film marketplace.
“My prediction is a steady stream of projects and opportunities for the future rather than a huge flood of filmmaking in the area, and that feels about right,” Mr Duffy said.
Produced by Balibo director Robert Connolly and Ms Miles, The Turning will bring together 17 of Australia’s brightest talents.
Academy Award-winning Blanchett will work alongside Lord of the Rings star David Wenham, Mia Wasikoswka, visual artist Shaun Gladwell, theatre director Benedict Andrews, indigenous choreographer Stephen Page and others.
Spanning three decades, short films resembling chapters of the Winton book will tell the life story of Vic Lang, a policeman’s son, and the fictional WA coastal town of Angelus.
Kill Me Three Times, to be directed by Wolf Creek creator Greg McLean, focuses on a young woman linked to three separate tales of murder, blackmail and revenge.
Talent already attached to the film include Australians Abbie Cornish, Ben Mendelsohn and Sullivan Stapleton with lead actor, Brazilian-born Alice Braga.