Screen NSW and Blue Mountains City Council spent almost three months organising the full-day bus expedition, sparking ideas and the imaginations of 18 industry professionals.
The itinerary included the Linden Observatory, Wild Valley Art Park, Hydro Majestic Hotel, Dryridge Estate and Allview Escape before the group was let loose in Katoomba to explore the Art Deco streetscape, unrenovated retro roadside motels, grand hotels and street art laneways.
Filmmaker Felicity Price said the tour was an excellent way to network, share knowledge and educate the industry about filming in unique regions not often seen on our screen.
“I joined the tour not quite knowing what to expect and as someone who has grown up in Sydney, I had preconceived ideas about what the Blue Mountains has on offer, basically the Hydro Majestic, Three Sisters, the Carrington and hand-knitted sweaters,” she said.
“I hoped that I would be inspired to shoot our film in Dharug and Gundungurra Country and I certainly was. I need to return for a more in-depth scout looking specifically at the locations we require but I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to take this tour and have my imagination sparked by the locations on offer.
“I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet industry members who are local and were very generous with their broad knowledge of the area. A day-long tour gave me plenty of opportunity to ask questions specific to my project and it helped me a great deal to hear about crew based in the region.”
Location manager Magdalene Phillips said she was left buzzing from the experience.
“It was wonderful to see the council and Screen NSW take the time, effort, and foresight to organise such a powerful and necessary event with some of the best location scouts and managers in Australia,” she said.
“Bringing film people together onto a bus on one day can be a challenge because they're so used to driving themselves around but travelling out to the mountains was such a brilliant idea and an incredible adventure.
“Our industry should look beyond the borders of the 20km radius zone and extend to other city councils like the Blue Mountains, which are close enough to Sydney and offer so much.”
Executive producer Shanh Devendran agreed: “Having filmed and visited the Blue Mountains countless times, there were so many places including the vineyards and private ridge properties that I simply had no idea were amongst the location offerings.
“It was also very helpful to understand the production community available in the area and the shorthand that community has with council and counterparts. It makes sense for the area to be considered as one of Screen NSW regional zones, so I hope for the growth of production in the region that this happens soon.”
The famil has already paid dividends for the Blue Mountains with Screen NSW set to arrange similar tours of other regions in the state. Illawarra is the first area to be considered with suggestions welcome at [email protected]