“Like anything you do in a big way, it’s been a huge learning curve!” said director Tim Hills as he prepared for the final days of filming in Narrandera.
“It’s also been exciting and a very rich experience.”
The feature film When The House is Empty has been many years in the making after Tim adapted an old script to feature the Riverina location.
He said Narrandera locals had embraced the project and was hoping a few more would attend the party next week – literally!
“We’re actually looking for more extras for this Monday (15 January) when we are creating a party scene and we’ll need about 30 people,” he said.
“We want it to feel like a real party and not a stage party, so we’re going to try and move the actors through and interact with the scene instead of the other way around.”
Producer Ken Hammond said the crew had enjoyed spending time in the region.
“We’re very appreciative of the help that we’re getting and the input from the community has been great,” he said.
“Narrandera is a wonderful place to film. It’s so nice to be removed from Sydney and some of that chaos.”
But while the locals have been on board, the weather hasn’t always made things easy.
“We’ve gone through autumn, winter, spring and now we are shooting in the fourth season – summer,” Tim explained.
“In my experience, summer in Narrandera is hot with no rain and big gold fields, and that’s one of the reasons why we chose this area, but at the moment everything is green and wet and it looks more like winter!
“Of course, we can work with it, but it isn’t the summer we were expecting.”
With a background in the music industry, Tim said the collaborative nature of filmmaking had been a unique challenge.
“Film is like doing an album project and doing the recording, and you’ve got the band, but then you’ve also got all those elements like costumes, food, catering, props and it just encompasses so many areas and people who do different things.”
Ken agreed that managing a film project was complex.
“Unless you’re out there shooting something by yourself on an iPhone, it’s gonna involve a lot of people and a lot of different aspects,” he said with a laugh.
“You’re getting all these people together for this one collaborative effort and you say – let’s see how it goes. Let’s get out there and get it up on the big screen.”
With more shooting days to come in Sydney, Ken said they would be hoping to get into post-production and wrap things up in the next 12 months.
“It’s always an unknown quantity. We were hoping for a release around the middle of the year, but realistically I think it will be later on this year or early next.”
In the meantime, if you’re in Narrandera and want to join the party, you can text 0413 207 703 for a chance at silver screen immortality.