Aussie directors could pair up for mystery project in the south-west

A SECRET film collaboration between award-winning Aussie directors Rolf de Heer and Richard Frankland is a chance to be shot in the south-west in the next year.

Portland-based Frankland confirmed he and the Bad Boy Bubby director were “exploring the possibility of doing a film in the area” but was tight-lipped about the story and plot.

“Without delving into it, it’s unlike any Australian story ever told before,” Frankland said cryptically.

“I don’t think there’s a film like it around anywhere.”

Frankland and de Heer spent a few days looking at south-west locations last week, with de Heer taking the opportunity during his visit to host a screening of his film The Old Man Who Read Love Stories for F Project Cinema in Warrnambool.

“It’s only early days, but we’re hoping to get a chance to shoot early next year or late this year,” Frankland explained.

“We looked at a broad range of locations.

“It’s always been a wish of mine to shoot a film down this way.

“I know a few people have shot down here ... (but) it’s an untapped area. 

“It’s a beautiful area with such great people.”

Frankland said he and de Heer “met at Cannes (Film Festival) in the mid-’90s and have been mates ever since”.

De Heer’s films The Quiet Room, Dance Me To My Song, and Ten Canoes have screened at Cannes, with the latter winning the special Jury Prize in 2006. His other films include Bad Boy Bubby, The Tracker, Alexandra’s Project and Dr Plonk.

Frankland is the director of acclaimed short film Harry’s War, which details the exploits of indigenous south-west soldier Harry Saunders, and the feature length indigenous comedy Stone Bros, as well as episodes of The Circuit and Blue Heelers.

Harry’s War was screened at Cannes in 1996 to great acclaim, and went on to win awards around the world.

“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to work on something together,” Frankland said.

“We’ve got a well developed script. It’s (going to be) very cinematic, very visual.”

If the project gets off the ground, it will likely be filmed hot on the heels of Oddball, which will shoot in Warrnambool in May. 

Oddball will tell the story of Warrnambool’s penguin-protecting Maremmas, and will bring star Shane Jacobson back to the south-west where he filmed a small part of the comedy Charlie & Boots with Paul Hogan. 

Parts of a telemovie of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, ’80s Aussie western Quigley Down Under and some aerial landscape shots from CG Disney film Dinosaur were also shot in the south-west over the past few decades.

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