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How sleepy Goondiwindi went from outback town to movie Mecca in an instant

Statewide

Wild weather in Victoria has delivered Goondiwindi a major windfall, as floods force the relocation of a movie-set to the southern Queensland town, filling up motels and ringing the tills of local business.

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Production of the new Australian feature film started this week, promising to inject “hundreds of thousands of dollars” into the local economy, according to those behind the project.

The decision to put Goondiwindi in the frame was made at lightning speed, with the production crew from Bronte Pictures flying into the region last week to scope location options after their first preference at Moama on the Murray River was flooded.

The quick location switch has electrified the town, Mayor Lawrence Springborg said, with nearly 70 cast and crew moving in for the next five weeks.

“I heard they needed something like 50 rooms to accommodate their people for the duration of the shoot,” Springborg said.

“That’s going to fill up our motels, hotels, clubs, cafes and restaurants.

“It’s fantastic that they’ve decided to come to Goondiwindi. We look forward to welcoming them and we’re very grateful for their investment in our businesses.”

Goondiwindi Chamber of Commerce president Peter Travers has emotions running sky-high at the development. When not running the local chamber, Travers operates an aerial spraying and charter flight business, normally contracted to dust crops or ferry customers to remote agricultural properties or cattle sales in his six-seater Piper Navajo.

“But this weekend I’m going to be picking up actors and crew – all the very important people, I’m sure – from Brisbane and Ballina and bringing them to Goondiwindi,” he said.

“I’m finally going to get to see just how famous they are.”

While Travers would not disclose who would be on the passenger manifest, the film will boast British actress Hermione Corfield, previously featured in the Mission Impossible and Star Wars franchises and Australian film and TV actors Jake Ryan, Josh McConville and Jacob Junior Nayinggul.

Bronte Pictures CEO Blake Northfield said he was “amazed” by the support from businesses across town and the council to resurrect the stalled shoot.

“To be able to resolve so many logistic needs on such short notice is a credit to the community and we want to say a huge thank you,” he said.

“Most of our team come from regional Australia and it’s really important to us that we work with the local community.

“We’ll be making sure there is an opportunity for our cast and crew to get involved with the community and we will be announcing soon an opportunity for any young budding actors to have a chance to learn more.”

The film ‘Fear Below’ is set in 1946 and follows the story of a bank robbery gone wrong. A vehicle carrying gold bullion crashes off a bridge into the river below – and a desperate attempt to retrieve the gold ensues.

Springborg said he was hopeful the movie may ignite further interest in the region.

“Queensland is more and more becoming the go-to place for films and blockbusters, given that movie producers around the world are always chasing unique locations,” he said.

As well as the Goondiwindi production, filming is currently underway across Queensland on Brouhaha Entertainment’s adaptation of Boy Swallows Universe for Netflix, Disney+ sci-fi series Nautilus, Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla vs Kong sequel, Bunya Productions’ Limboseries for ABC TV and action-thriller Land of Bad starring Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth with production services from Hoodlum Entertainment.

 

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