Warrnambool business operators set out to accommodate Oddball film crew

Have you ever fancied having actor Shane Jacobson or some slick camera operator in your bed?

Warrnambool accommodation venues and other business operators have the chance to roll out the welcome mat for Jacobson and a film crew who will spend weeks in the city producing a film on how Maremma dogs saved the Middle Island penguin population.

Jacobson’s brother Clayton, who is the director for the Oddball production, will also be in the visiting troupe.

Already some accommodation providers have pledged beds as part of an initiative called the Oddball Club co-ordinated by city tourism director Peter Abbott.

He’s building an Oddball Bed Bank aiming to have 65 rooms available to the crew for three weeks in May and some for earlier dates.

“Operators see great value in it as Warrnambool’s greatest-ever promotion opportunity,” Mr Abbott said. “People who see the movie will recognise the background and want to visit.

“We want to maximise the amount of filming that will be done in Warrnambool rather than Melbourne because it is a cheaper option from a production perspective.

“We are also seeking help with transport and catering and are happy to talk with anyone wanting to help with hospitality for the film crew.”

Businesses pledging support will be invited to a special “welcome to Warrnambool” night for the cast and crew. The general community can also jump on board the support wagon by joining the Oddball Club, which will give access to possible selection for roles as extras on the set.

They will also receive regular updates on the movie production, and information on the Maremmas being used on the island, plus details on Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village education programs.

About 85 people are expected to be in Warrnambool for the production, which will start in earnest after the May Racing Carnival. However, there will be some initial work in February and March.

Oddball tells the story of how former Dennington chook farmer Allan ‘Swampy’ Marsh (played by Jacobson) came up with the idea of trialling his Maremma working dogs on the island to save the penguin population which had been decimated by marauding foxes and dogs.

The project was a success and has achieved worldwide fame.

The film is expected to be released next year.

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