Filming continues in Far North Queensland and the Torres Straits this week for Blue Water Empire, the three-part primetime dramatised documentary series which gives a unique insight into the history and culture of the Torres Strait Islands.
Produced for the ABC in partnership between Lonestar Company, headed up by producers Aaron Fa’Aoso and Jimi Bani, and Bunya Productions (Mystery Road, Goldstone) led by producers David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin, Blue Water Empire is being produced with the assistance of Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.
The all star cast list includes Jack Thompson, Ryan Corr, Damian Walshe-Howling, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Jimi Bani, Roy Billing, Geoff Morrell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Peter Phelps, Merwez Whaleboat, Robert Mammone and Damian de Montemas.
Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the producers are employing a large Queensland cast and crew including Torres Strait Islanders in key creative and technical roles.
‘My Government is supporting this domestic production through Screen Queensland as part of our commitment to build jobs in the Queensland creative sector and grow the screen industry in Queensland,’ the Premier said.
‘We launched our first Screen Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy 2016-19 that delivers a range of funding initiatives benefiting Indigenous practitioners in Cairns last week to coincide with the shooting of Blue Water Empire,’ said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.
‘Screen Queensland was thrilled to be welcomed on location to watch filming in progress and to see so many locals working on the series. This is what we strive to achieve in supporting productions such as Blue Water Empire that play a critical role in creating jobs, up-skilling local crew in key creative and technical roles and engaging early career screen practitioners.’
The Cairns Regional Council, part of Screen Queensland’s Film Friendly Pathways Program, helped the producers with location scouting for the series and understood the quick turnaround required for fast paced television production.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Council welcomed the series’ presence in Cairns.
‘We’re thrilled to have the cast and crew of Blue Water Empire here in Cairns and we’re doing all we can to make them feel welcome in our region,’ Cr Manning said.
‘This will be a culturally significant series and it’s great that Cairns has been chosen as a key location for filming.
‘One of the great things about Cairns is the range of scenery available to filmmakers. This series will feature footage from our beaches and coastal foreshores, wetland areas and even one of our most popular suburban parks.
‘We’re very much looking forward to seeing these locations on our screens in the final product.’
Post production will be carried out at Brisbane company Run Run Run.
Blue Water Empire is supported by Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.
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About Blue Water Empire:
Blue Water Empire traverses pre-colonisation life through to the pervasive impact of European arrival; from the influence of missionaries to the influx of people from all over the world during the pearling era. The Straits were not immune to the devastation of World War II either, which triggered mass migration to mainland Australia. In more recent times there has been an explosion of social activism, fighting for recognition and acknowledgement of connection to not only land but sea. It is a thrilling and vital piece of our shared history that the ABC is proud to vividly bring to life for Australian audiences.
About Screen Queensland’s Film Friendly Program:
SQ’s Film Friendly Pathways Program works with councils to offer your production key benefits including:
> a ‘one-stop shop’ council appointed liaison for filming in the region
> recent and searchable location images tagged to each region
> low or no-fee applications for filming
> adoption of standardised and streamlined permit application forms for filming
> logistical advice and assistance to productions
> access to key locations under each council’s jurisdiction
For more information and how to download the FREE SQ app, please CLICK HERE.