Over the years, Melbourne has played host to some great local and international films. The combination of diverse locations surrounding the city, Dockland Studios and a skyline that can pass off as New York/Los Angeles make Melbourne a great place to shoot a movie. Here we’ll take a look at some of the best video productions of Melbourne.
Shot in various locations around Melbourne, Animal Kingdom was hugely successful in a number of ways. It managed to capture the gritty, brutal reality of Melbourne’s criminal underbelly. A superb performance from Jacki Weaver saw her nominated for an academy award. It also proved to be another chance for Ben Mendelsohn to unsettle the audience with a particularly villainous performance.
Trivia: Before filming, Ben Mendelsohn and Luke Ford decided not to speak to each other, to help with their portrayal of two antagonistic brothers.
The mockumentary that made Shane Jacobson a household name in Australia. It’s just the kind of comedy that we’re known for too. The everyday ‘Aussie battler’ in all their embarrassing glory but carefully mixed with equal parts warmth and integrity. Kenny was produced on a comparatively tiny budget but managed to captivate audiences regardless. You don’t need to look too hard to recognise some of the local Melbourne areas it was filmed in.
Trivia: The world premiere of Kenny was in the town of Poowong, Southern Victoria, Australia.
The Castle is arguably the best movie to come out of Australia. ‘Tell em’ they’re dreaming’ and ‘That’s going straight to the pool room’ have made their way into the Australian lexicon. It’s unashamedly Australian and, like Kenny, it hits the perfect balance of lampooning the working class family in a way that’s always endearing and never mean spirited.
Trivia: The family was named Kerrigan so the filmmakers could borrow trucks from an actual tow-truck company, Kerrigan’s Towing. The shooting schedule was cut from from 20 to 11 days – the number of days the filmmakers could afford to feed the cast and crew.
Bonus Trivia:Eric Bana’s film debut.
Where the Wild Things Are
The famous children’s book turned film. Where the Wild Things Are was shot around the world but principally shot in Dockland Studios. Creating the unique visuals of the imagined land that the ‘wild things’ inhabit called for a large space (the monsters were mostly huge puppets). Beyond the studio, the crew also shot in Flinders, Gembrook and Mornington amongst other places around Melbourne. Where the Wild Things Are is a truly unique film and it’s hard to classify it as a children’s or adults movie. Regardless, it’s an amazing piece of art and well worth watching on a big screen if you get the chance.
Trivia: The creatures are being portrayed by actors in 6-8 foot tall costumes, with some additional animatronics, and computer-generated faces. The costumes were created by The Jim Henson Company (The Muppets)
Honourable Mention – Nicolas Cage
What list would be complete without a mention of Nicolas Cage? Melbourne has played host to two of Cage’s films in the past: Ghost Rider and Knowing. Sadly, the critics were pretty unanimous in their summary of Ghost Rider. Rotten Tomatoes, an American review aggregator website said ‘Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue’. Still, commercially Ghost Rider did pretty well making $230m from a $110m budget. Knowing, like Ghost Rider took a hit from the critics but still managed to make a decent profit. Despite the sour reviews, for any Melbournian it’s still a kick to see a big budget production with hollywood stars at a familiar location.
Trivia: One of the bridges being used in for Ghost Rider was months away from completion, so the studio paid to add tar, lines, and lights to the highway for filming. The work was ripped up and redone to meet Australian safety standards.
Melbourne International Film Festival
Speaking of stars, Dream Engine were given the chance to rub shoulders with some of Australia’s finest when we covered the Melbourne International Film Festival. Take a look at how the night went in the video below.
Have we forgotten any of your favourite films / video productions of Melbourne? let us know in the comments below. Want to find out more about creating a video production in Melbourne? take a look at this guide.