October 7, 2013
AS THE curtain fell on the premiere of Winton’s latest film offering at the weekend, it was the town’s residents who basked in the glow of the successful film industry developing in their own backyard.
Tattersals Hotel publican Paul Neilsen said Winton was discovered as a prime film destination in 1990 and since that time he’s done work to seek out memorable film locations for directors and producers, including Mystery Road’s director Ivan Sen.
While a select few actors play main roles, the film’s frames are filled with familiar faces from Winton and surrounds, including Mr Neilsen’s 22-year-old son Mark.
“My youngest fellow got a part as a secondary actor _ he was originally meant to be a stunt man, but they ended up making him part of the cast,” he said.
Exposing some of Winton’s most iconic and beautiful shooting locations is not a job to be taken lightly, but Mr Neilsen said the town had a number of different landscapes at its fingertips to work with.
“They [directors] film here because of the locations they can choose from,” he said.
“They don’t have to go far to change the scene, from open Mitchell Downs grasslands to beautiful gorges and escarpments.”
A publican in Winton since 1987, Mr Neilsen was also responsible for “feeding and watering” A-list actors like Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Tasma Walton and Roy Billing during their stay.
However, he said it was the people of Winton who were the stars of the show at the red carpet Royal Mail Outdoor Theatre film launch last weekend.
Producer David Jowsey said he and director Ivan Sen hand-picked Winton to host the film’s premiere as a way of saying thank you to the locals, who were so generous and welcoming when they made the film there in 2012.
Mystery Road opens nationally on October 17 and was produced with the financial assistance of Screen Australia, Screen Australia Indigenous Department, Screen Queensland, ABC Television and Arclight Films.