Town to star in feature film

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times

The South West is solidifying its spot on the silver screen with this week’s announcement Go Karts — a feature-length film directed by Top Gear’s Owen Trevor and written by Steve Worland of Paper Planes fame — will be filmed in the region.

Screenwest could not yet reveal specific filming locations, but the Times understands Busselton will be a key filming site and towns within the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River might also feature.

No funding has been requested from the Shire, but the City of Busselton has contributed an unconfirmed figure.

“The City has made a cash and in-kind contribution to secure the filming here in the municipality; we feel it’s an investment well made,” City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said.

“Not only does it provide the opportunity to showcase the region as a tourist destination but the actual filming process contributes significantly to the local economy and further establishes the South West as a well sought-after filming location.”

Produced by See Pictures, Go Karts tells the story of a boy and his dream of winning the Australian go-kart championships.

It has been boosted by the WA Regional Film Fund and received a major production investment from Screen Australia and Screenwest in association with Create NSW and Spectrum Films.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said Go Karts would enhance the marketability of the region as a filming and tourism destination, and Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said it would contribute to the growing sector and create job opportunities.

Go Karts is the next in a long line of feature films set in the southern part of WA, which includes Jasper Jones in Pemberton, Drift near Margaret River and Nannup, and further along the southern coast, Tim Winton’s Breath in Denmark.

News of the production follows last year’s approval of an animation and digital production studio in Busselton.

Busselton and Dunsborough’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Jodie Richards said CinefestOZ had set the stage for the region’s burgeoning film industry and expected it, along with related businesses, were likely to continue growing.

Ms Richards, who understood the destinations would not go by fictional names on-screen, also pointed to the marketing benefits.

“That’s probably one of the biggest selling points,” she said.

“It’s long-term exposure and increases awareness.”

The film will mark Trevor’s feature-length directorial debut after shooting a series of shorts, and his return to Australia.

“I’m excited to be heading home to shoot my first feature film after a few years working in the UK, Europe and the US, and especially to be working on the beautiful west coast,” Trevor said.

Screen Australia’s production head Sally Caplan said Go Karts offered “the perfect mix of action, suspense and humour”.

Production will begin in the first half of this year.

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