Victorian movie locations immortalised on screen.
There’s been a buzz of controversy in regards to a film currently being filmed in Geelong.
‘Nitram’ (Martin spelt backwards) is the feature film in question. Starring Caleb Landry Jones as infamous mass murderer Martin Bryant, the film has sparked criticisms of romanticising the serial killer, with many calling for the production to be shut down.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, the film details the events leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre on Tasmania in an attempt to understand why and how the atrocity occurred. The film was shot in Geelong, however, rather than Tasmania.
Nitram premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in July, the first Australian film to do so in a decade, and it will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August after receiving funding through the MIFF Premiere Fund.
With so much talk going on and roads being shut down for filming, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at what films have been shot in or around Geelong locations.
Round The Twist
Not a film per se, but too iconic to leave out.
Upon it’s airing in 1989 ‘Round The Twist’ became not only an Aussie children’s favourite, but also garnered acclaim worldwide. Gaining popular TV slots in Britain, America and Europe; the series, which was adapted from Paul Jennings books, became a juggernaut of Australian television.
Although there is popular debate as to where the lighthouse that the Twist family reside in is based, (with many thinking it is in Pt Lonsdale – a rumour that was strengthened by Mark Mitchell’s camping trips to Lonnie in the early 2000’s), it is actually filmed at Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet.
Romper Stomper is iconic. Being the film that skyrocketed Russel Crowe’s fame, spawned a spinoff TV show and influenced a string of anti-Nazi films that rose to popularity in the late ’90s.
Being set in Melbourne, it’s no surprise that a lot of the film is filmed on location in the city. One moment, however – the film’s climactic end fight scene – was captured in none other than the Pt Addis Carpark and beachfront.
Alright so this one isn’t a film, but it’s pretty bloody cool. The Chats have been gaining a heap of popularity since the release of ‘Smoko’ and it seems they aren’t slowing down anytime soon, with each song they release seemingly becoming a hit.
You may have noticed this one on Rage but the 2019 music video for ‘Pub Feed’ was filmed around Geelong locations such as Landy Field and The Barwon Club.
In this 2015 literary film adaption starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, The Dressmaker takes place in the fictional town of Dungatar, which was built from scratch on the Mount Rothwell Conservation and Research Reserve in the You Yangs Regional Park.
You won’t find anything of the set except a picket fence, but tour groups exploring the untouched beauty of Mount Rothwell can still ask to have filming locations pointed out to them.
Possibly the highest budget entry on the list, Nicolas Cage’s 2009 blockbuster (colossal flop), Knowing, was filmed around a huge collection of Victorian locations. Most notably though, an aerial collision scene which was filmed on the then uncompleted Geelong ring road.
With help from local newspapers, an advertisement was distributed looking for extras and thousands of cars/families got on board to get their chance at being part of Hollywood film.
Apparently, Nicolas Cage loves Victoria, with Ghost Rider also being filmed within Melbourne. Although the majority of the film was shot within a 20 block radius in Melbourne, the feature which was set in Texas was also filmed in Anakie and Bacchus Marsh, with Balliang Rd near Anakie used for one of the movie’s biggest stunt scenes.
DC’s ‘Gotta Eat’
Again, this one isn’t a feature film but it is easily the most unique on this list. In 2019 the DC skate team, featuring Thrasher Skater of The Year contender Evan Smith completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand. They chronicled their journey in the ‘Gotta Eat ‘ video which shows footage from all over both countries.
Most notably, a bunch of footage from Geelong including the waterfront skatepark, Deakin Waterfront and the Corio bowls. What makes it even cooler is that the video has a soundtrack featuring King Gizz and Beans, two local favorites.
Check out from 7 minutes onwards to see the biggest 50-50 in Geelong waterfront history.
Queen of the Damned
Queen of the Damned has to be up there with the ‘Final Destination’ series for having the best promotional campaign of all time. In 2002, I saw it’s movie poster countless times. In fact, if I close my eyes I can still perfectly describe every minute detail of it’s image.
What I didn’t realise was that most of it was filmed within Victoria. Most impressively, a festival which is meant to be set in California, and features Lestat singing, was actually filmed in a quarry in Werribee.
Turns out one of the most famous and influential films ever made in Australia was filmed in our region, making a global star of Mel Gibson.
Followed the vengeful path of highway cop Max Rockatansky (Gibson) as he battled a murderous motorcycle gang, most of the car chase scenes were filmed in Little River, while the beachfront house where Max, wife Jessie and their son lived was in Fairhaven on the Great Ocean Road.
Released in 2019, this $40 million Australian-Chinese co-production involved a number of action scenes shot around central Geelong in August and September back in 2019.
While watching the flick, local landmarks including Westfield and Sailors Rest are clearly visible in the movie, which is pretty damn cool for us Geelong locals.
The film, which stars Matrix Reloaded actor Steve Bastoni, centres on a Chinese mining executive uncovering a possible inside job and hit the box office in December in the US, UK and China.
This is an extra one, and is 100 per cent not filmed on location in Australia, but we had to include it. Something about the setting of Bells Beach having a train station and palm trees is just too funny.
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