Film­ing be­gins in the Kim­ber­ley

Broome Advertiser - - Happenings - Mark Naglazas

Af­ter more than a decade of de­lays, di­gres­sions and dis­ap­point­ments the much-an­tic­i­pated adap­ta­tion of Tim Win­ton’s Dirt Mu­sic is un­der way on the Dampier Penin­sula.

A crew of more than 60 is work­ing along­side the Bardi Jawi peo­ple to get ahead of the wet sea­son and shoot the cli­max of Win­ton’s wrench­ing 2001 Booker Prize-short­listed ro­mance about two dam­aged souls who find so­lace in the wilds of WA.

The pro­duc­tion will then head south — to Perth, for a cou­ple of brief scenes, and to Esper­ance, which is stand­ing in for Win­ton’s myth­i­cal White Point (a thinly dis­guised Lancelin).

And sit­ting atop this vast film­mak­ing en­ter­prise — one of the big­gest in the his­tory of the lo­cal screen in­dus­try — are Scots star Kelly Mac­Don­ald and Amer­i­can hunk Gar­rett Hed­lund, who play un­happy fish­er­man’s wife Ge­orgie Jut­land and the poacher Luther Fox.

David Wen­ham is Ge­orgie’s hus­band Jim Buck­ridge, with the sup­port roles filled by Syd­ney singer-song­writer Ju­lia Stone, Mys­tery Road’s Aaron Ped­er­sen, vet­eran Chris Hay­wood and Dan Wyl­lie, last seen as Wes Buckin in Jasper Jones.

“To be able to shoot Dirt Mu­sic where Tim Win­ton set his novel is fan­tas­tic,” Bri­tish-based pro­ducer Fi­nola Dwyer tells me af­ter a long day shoot­ing on an is­land off One Arm Point, one of sev­eral lo­ca­tions along the Dampier Penin­sula.

“When you look out over this beau­ti­ful set­ting you re­alise it’s worth the ex­tra ef­fort to make Dirt Mu­sic lo­ca­tions faith­ful to the book. It’s why au­di­ences go to the movies — to be taken some­where they haven’t been be­fore.”

Dwyer’s pre­vi­ous films in­clude An Ed­u­ca­tion, the mul­ti­ple Os­car nom­i­nee Brook­lyn and the ac­claimed Robert Red­ford-Jane Fonda Net­flix old-folks ro­mance Our Souls at Night.

The rea­son why she and di­rec­tor Gre­gor Jor­dan (Two Hands, Ned Kelly) are able to make Dirt Mu­sic thou­sands of kilo­me­tres from a ma­jor met­ro­pol­i­tan cen­tre and take ad­van­tage of the stun­ning Kim­ber­ley land­scape is be­cause of the Re­gional Film Fund, a $16 mil­lion war chest the WA Gov­ern­ment is us­ing to fa­cil­i­tate pro­duc­tions in our gor­geous, far­away places.

The ex­tra cash, drawn from the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions pro­gram, has kicked off a pro­duc­tion boom in WA, with Dirt Mu­sic join­ing the likes of Three Sum­mers, the ABC se­ries Mys­tery Road, Go Carts, H is for Hap­pi­ness (shoot­ing in Al­bany) and Rams (film­ing in Mt Barker) in giv­ing our State its richly de­served close-up.

The level of pro­duc­tion — un­prece­dented in our State’s his­tory — has made WA the busiest film­mak­ing re­gion in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to act­ing Screen-West chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Rowe.

“The Re­gional Film Fund is piv­otal in lift­ing the level of pro­duc­tion to record lev­els. We are now the busiest film­mak­ing re­gion in the coun­try,” Mr Rowe told The Sun­day Times.

“Be­ing able to film in the re­gions has ben­e­fits for the lo­cal economies and for tourism. More sig­nif­i­cantly, it’s en­abling film­mak­ers to tell a greater range of WA sto­ries.

“We are very dif­fer­ent from the rest of the coun­try and film is play­ing a ma­jor role in defin­ing that dif­fer­ence.

“Our films are cap­tur­ing what is quintessen­tially ‘us’.”

Mr Rowe said the in­dus­try was “reach­ing a crit­i­cal mass”.

“There’s a stream of won­der­ful projects in the pipe­line. We are ap­proach­ing a level of pro­duc­tion that will keep crews liv­ing and work­ing in WA,” he said.

“And the sup­port we re­ceive from gov­ern­ment is cru­cial in sus­tain­ing that ac­tiv­ity.”

In­sta­gram Post: dirt­mu­sic­movieOn our first day of film­ing in the Kim­ber­ley, cast and crew cir­cle round to hear tra­di­tional owner Frank Davey welcome us to Bardi Jawi Coun­try. We feel very priv­i­leged to be work­ing with the lo­cal com­mu­nity amongst breath­tak­ing land­scapes; this land is truly magic!

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