Illawarra among top film locations

August 2023

Originally published for Illawarra Mercury by Desiree Savage.  

The Illawarra has been one of the state’s top locations to shoot a film or series by one of the nation’s leading logistics and production support crew companies.

CATO Location Services said the South Coast was up there along with Sydney CBD, Richmond, Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains as one of its “favourite locations to lock down”.

“Home to a diverse range of backdrops, including metropolitan city skylines, scenic coastlines and rural landscapes, NSW offers a wealth of locations for international and domestic clients,” the company said on its website.

Listed second to Sydney, the South Coast was named for its “famous for its beautiful, coastal scenery”. The company went on to list how Hollywood feature films used backdrops to replicate environments from other parts of the world.

“Russel Crowe’s film Poker Face (2022) is set in Miami, yet was partially filmed in … Kiama,” they said.

“Likewise The Invisible Man (2020) also made use of the South Coast’s scenic backdrop. The feature film was shot in part at the recognisable Headland House [part of Dovecote Estate] in Gerringong, rather than San Francisco where the film is set.”

That film was made with a “conservative budget” of USD$7 million but reportedly grossed USD$140 million, according to CATO.

It comes as Screen NSW has announced a series of workshops to upskill the state’s workforce with transferable skills to meet current production demands.

This is really about exciting people and opening their eyes, minds and hearts to crew roles

The initiative by Media Mentors Australia, “Set Educated”, will provide a full-day workshop online as well as in person at Parramatta, Kensington and Ballina.

Workshop attendees will hear about the range of crew roles available – directly from people working in them – before they meet with them and potential employers.

After the event, participants complete an online certificated course demonstrating they have a basic understanding of on-set protocols and are directed to crew agencies and volunteer work opportunities.

“The current pathways into the screen industry are informal and unstructured. Like in agriculture, it’s based around people showing up and asking for work,” said Media Mentors Co-founder, Denise Eriksen.

“There’s a general lack of understanding in the community about the range of roles available in the industry so this is really about exciting people and opening their eyes, minds and hearts to crew roles.

“Many industries have hidden jobs, none more so than the screen industry where a whopping 86 percent of jobs happen through referrals, recommendations, and word of mouth.”

ON SET

Tickets for the Screen NSW Media Mentors Australia “Set Educated” workshops are $29.73.

For more information, visit mediamentors.com.au/set-educated.

Headland House
Headland House, Gerringong
Kiama New South Wales
Kiama. Photo by Martin David