Region to star in China film

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Gracetown could see film crews soon.
Camera IconGracetown could see film crews soon. Credit: Becky Felstead

Margaret River will feature in a major Chinese co-production around this time next year for a filmed likened to “Notting Hill riding the waves”.

WA-based film company Legend Media executive creative director Camille Chen told the Times her movie Chasing Waves would set up next October/November — echoing the production of Drift in 2012, when the filmmakers set up a production hub in Margaret River and called on community support, including volunteer roles.

Local surfers would likely be called in to help act as body doubles for the film’s stars, with casting in progress for a “top-tier” Chi-nese talent as well as an Aussie lead.

Ms Chen led a delegation to the region in February, and is already linked to movie Outback Dragons, which starts shooting in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in January, as well as previous visits to WA from investors and producers from Truly Sense Media, which is a production arm of Chinese mega-retailer Suning.

Ms Chen said the Margaret River region sold itself during the February visit.

“WA as a destination is unknown to the Chinese audience and even in the screen sector, so it was really eye-opening for those film investors, not just to discover WA as a really open and friendly State, but as a setting,” she said.

“It really wowed them ... They absolutely loved it.

“They really loved it.”

The film looks likely to secure local investment through Screenwest, and Chasing Waves’ $8 million budget would climb go higher as details settled, Ms Chen said.

“We’ll catch attention,” she said.

“We’ll be around the wineries and, of course, there will be surfing.

“It’s definitely confirmed.”

“It’s part of our line-up.

“The idea behind the trilogy (which includes other films) is really a 10-year project to promote WA.”

Principal photography would run for about five weeks.

Ms Chen said residents would also be engaged during production, and the community would have plenty of chance to get in on the buzz.

“It’s basically a surfing-romance-comedy-drama,” she told the Times.

“It’s a bit like Notting Hill riding the waves.”

“We’re really fortunate that our Chinese partner is significant.

“We’re looking to tap into the (Chinese) consumer market.”

As well as Outback Dragons, Legend Media will produce Pilbara: A Grand Adventure in the north of WA.

The company is yet to liaise with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.

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