Film dreams needs focus

FREMANTLE council is hoping its “film friendly city” policy might be a step closer after pouncing on comments by “American actor and producer Kate Walsh” that WA could emerge as a film location.

Unfortunately the council’s giddy press release seems to have confused Grey’s Anatomy actress Kate Walsh with Hollywood producer Katie Walsh, who’s probably more qualified to talk about sound stages and the other expensive investments required to entice multi-million productions across the globe. 

The actor Walsh’s one producing credit, Bad Judge, isn’t necessarily something to brag about, having been criticised by the Florida Association for Women’s Lawyers as “damaging to women in the legal profession”. The Netflix series, about a “hard-living, sexually unapologetic” judge lasted just one season after being panned by critics.

Last year Freo council wined and dined executives from the Chinese film industry, now the second largest in the world and set to overtake Hollywood within the decade.

Film-makers would benefit from Freo’s “great mix of locations, from beautiful heritage buildings to big industrial warehouses, funky shops and cafes and the river and the ocean”, according to mayor Brad Pettitt. 

Fremantle wouldn’t be the the first starry-eyed council with dreams of becoming the next Hollywood, but outback town Broken Hill’s script should serve as a stark precautionary tale. 

After scoring such hits as Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Mad Max 2, the Broken Hill council spent $2 million converting a disused mining power station into a film studio, hoping for a gold mine of economic opportunity. 

Mad Max: Fury Road was set to be filmed there, but unseasonal rain turned the desert scenery unusually green, ruining the nuclear apocalypse aesthetic and pushing production to Namibia. Broken Hill eventually couldn’t afford the upkeep and with its Hollywood dreams dashed, sold the entire complex for $680,000 to a local couple.

by JUSTIN STAHL

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