October 31, 2013
Broken Hill is “back in the movie making business” with Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving expected in the Outback early next year as part of an $8 million film bonanza that will create 300 jobs in NSW.
Funds have been approved for two Australian productions to be filmed at Broken Hill, including a locally-based story about terminally ill taxi driver Max Bell who drives to Darwin to die on his own terms.
But whether the two feature movies to be shot here will use the much-maligned Broken Hill Film Studio is yet to be decided.
“We are really thrilled this morning that the announcement has come through that they have the funds and hopefully early next year we will be back in the movie business,” Broken Hill City Council Manager of Community Development Andrea Roberts said.
“Whether or not they will use the studio – either as a filming support location or as a place to support their productions – we’re not really sure on all of those matters yet.
“But no doubt the film office will be very busy in the coming weeks,” Ms Roberts continued.
NSW Arts Minister George Souris announced the Broken Hill involvement as part of a seven-project, $14 million boost to the film industry in the state.
Strangerland – which stars Nicole Kidman and has a January 2014 start date – is a mystery drama about a couple who lose their two teenage kids in the Australian desert.
Last Cab to Darwin, from director/writer Jeremy Sims, will commence production in March next year and stars Jacki Weaver and Michael Caton.
“This is an expansive range of productions for our screen industry,” Mr Souris said.
“This confidence in our screen industry demonstrates its strength and depth and the abilities of our local cast and production crews,” Mr Souris added.
Film Broken Hill has been working on bringing the productions to the city for “up to three years” according to Ms Roberts.
“We’ve got the fifth largest film studio in Australia and really the only one in regional Australia,” she explained to Andrew Schmidt during an interview for ABC999 Broken Hill’s Morning Program Outback Outlook.
“Automatically we have a credibility that makes film makers aware we are in the film business.
“We also have a ‘can-do’ community who are very film savvy and don’t get overwhelmed by it.
“All of those things stack up to make this a great destination for filming,” Ms Roberts continued.
Broken Hill has a 40-year history in film making which includes Wake In Fright, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Mad Max 2.
“We have a very complete story in Broken Hill and really it is the Broken Hill studios that complete that story and lifts us way above any other regional destination,” Ms Roberts said.
“Also, our locations – within an hour from Broken Hill you have any type of desert Outback Australian scene (and) it can also translate into industrial landscapes within the city.”
However, with the disappointment of Broken Hill missing out on attracting the filming of Mad Max 4, Ms Roberts said celebrations would be “quiet”.
“We are obviously very confident now that the film funding has come through but … it only takes a season of rain and things can change very quickly,” Ms Roberts said, referring to the reasons why Mad Max 4 was moved off-shore to Namibia.
“We don’t have the champagne out yet and I will be very happy when they arrive with their cameras.”