Warburton Survives Georgia

Warburton has made some new friends this week.

In the Twilight of a spring evening a caravan of film equipment trundled into town and set up camp.

We are the ‘location’ for an independent Australian film called “Surviving Georgia”, directed by Sandra Sciberras and Kate Whitbread. I believe the synopsis goes a little like this…

“Surviving Georgia is a heart warming romantic comedy about family and finding your own identity in the world. Heidi and Rose must find love but in doing so, must first reconcile with their feisty gambling alcoholic mother.”

At least that is what Shane’s website says. Shane who you ask? None other than Shane Jacobson (alias Kenny) who mentions on his Twitter page that he is “moving to Warburton for a few weeks!” but is yet to be spotted inspecting any of our local toilet establishments.

Other cast members like Pia Miranda, to my knowledge, have not bought fish and chips at our local milk bar. Spencer McLaren , Holly Valance and Anthony Woodcock, also maintain similar low profiles.

But a spot of celebrity watching is not really the point. Instead it’s been a fascinating insight into the machinations of film production and two things stand out for me when watching a hard days toil :

1. It takes a lot of people standing around to make a film, and

2. They mostly wear black.

One of the crew shares with me a nugget of ‘film’ wisdom. “It takes Art, Chance and Chaos” he says, as yet another retake is called.

In a small town its hard not to notice the production, even thought its all very low key and respectfully managed for us residents. I could not go anywhere at the start of the week without having to pass (or stop and wait for a scene to conclude) by a house that was being used just around the corner.

For Monday, a casting call has gone out for us locals to be extras in a wedding scene at the local Golf club. Sure it’s just standing around in the background, but if you’ve never been in a film, here’s a big chance to apparently get your name in the credits.

A  friends’ shop, Earth Bazaar, is also being used as a location. So taken were the location scouts with its charm, that apparently there were script changes to accommodate it “as is.”

It means a lot for a little town to be acknowledged by a big industry. Whilst Warburton has been poised as the next big thing for years, if not decades, it still manages to elude the grand tourist status of its neighbours like Healesville. But that’s OK, us residents are very comfortable with its secret beauty and undiscovered potential.

Apparently you will never see the “Welcome to Warburton “ sign or know that the town is the location for the shoot, unless of course you are one of those people who sit in a cinema until the credits stop rolling, or you recognise the odd iconic location.

I am reminded of a similar feeling TV film called ‘Little Oberon’ which starred Sigrid Thornton and Tasma Walton, shot in and around Marysville in 2005. Although perhaps long since forgotten, this film stands as a celluloid memorial to the township that no longer exists. And that is the intrinsic value of film. It provides us all with a moment, a memory that steps in when our own cerebral filing system fails us.

Scheduled for release in 2010, one thing is for certain, that when ‘Surviving Georgia’ has its opening night, the town and community of Warburton will be there in all its glory.