July 23, 2012
A multi-million dollar movie about the history of Waltzing Matilda will be shot in western Queensland.
Producer Bill Leimback is working on a $15 million movie about Waltzing Matilda called Banjo and Matilda.
Banjo Paterson wrote the verse while visiting the region in the 1890s and Mr Leimback says that was a deciding factor when choosing the location.
“The project belongs to western Queensland. Winton looks like the most likely place,” he said.
“I mean it could be shared with Longreach as well. Longreach is [a] much bigger population, has more accommodation and still has some of that glorious landscape but the soul of the project, the heart of the project, is actually in Winton and its immediate environs.”
A proposal to film the Banjo and Matilda project at Broken Hill, in western New South Wales, has been discarded.
“People are so passionate there about this particular story,” Mr Leimback said.
“Sydney may have the Opera House but Winton has got Waltzing Matilda.”
About 100 cast and crew are expected in the region for the project in mid-2013.
Meanwhile, filming finished over the weekend at Winton on a new murder mystery starring Hugo Weaving.
Screen Queensland’s Meredith Garlick visited the set of Mystery Road and also met local mayors to discuss the potential for the industry.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see in western Queensland a central film hub where a film industry will grow and live but certainly there is enough in the region to inspire productions to come here,” Ms Garlick said.
“A lot of that is intangible as well – it is the friendliness and quality of the local people and the local councils.”
She says councils are enthusiastic about playing a part in the industry.
“Film and television production have a great capacity to inspire people in unusual ways and many years down the track,” Ms Garlick said.
“So it is not just the immediate excitement of seeing the film being made or watching it be released and recognising local landmarks, it can bring life to a region many years later.”