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Arid South Australia provides perfect post-apocalyptic backdrop

Arts

THE arid and harsh landscape of the Flinders Ranges is providing the perfect backdrop for a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller being filmed in the Australian Outback.

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Cargo stars Emmy and BAFTA award wining actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, Captain America: Civil War) as a father stranded in rural Australia in the wake of a violent pandemic.

After being infected with a deadly virus, Freeman is forced to fight for survival in the Australian Outback and find a safe home for his one-year-old daughter.

The movie began filming late last month and is being shot in the beautifully rugged 540 million-year-old landscape, which starts about 200km north of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

Stretching for 430km, the Flinders Ranges is the South Australia’s largest mountain range and is known for its rocky ridges, red sunsets, gnarled gum trees and ancient waterholes.

Cargo is also being filmed east of Adelaide near the Murray River, which provides a host of scenic backdrops such as limestone cliffs, graceful river red gums, lush vineyards and citrus groves. It has been able to provide the perfect contrasting scenery to the arid outbreak setting of the Flinders Ranges.

Cargo is being produced by Causeway Films, which established a relationship with the South Australian film industry after the production of thriller The Babadook 2014.

Causeway’s producers Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton will work alongside South Australian producer Mark Patterson (Force of Destiny, Innocence), and co-directors Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling.

“The landscape is a key player in our ‘outbreak’ scenario, its harsh and unforgiving nature throws up countless obstacles for our protagonists, whilst at the same time offering protection and a means to survive,” Ramke said.

“We’ve been blown away by the spectacularly diverse locations on offer in South Australia, from the beaches to the vineyards, the wheat belt, the river lands right up to the towering Flinders Ranges,” Howling said.

“There is no doubt in our minds that we have found the perfect home for our story.”

Ramke and Howling were the team behind the original short film that was a finalist at Tropfest 2013.

The film has subsequently attracted more than 10 million views on YouTube and was the most watched video on the Tropfest channel.

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South Australia Film Corporation (SAFC) CEO Annabelle Sheehan said South Australia was the ideal filming destination because of its multifaceted landscape. 

“You’ve got fields, wine, beaches, and deserts not so far away, even some great forests. You do have an incredible array of locations and ways in which South Australia can stand in for other places in the world,” she said.

“We have beautiful red desert, the Flinders Ranges area and Coober Pedy. We even have landscapes that fit an apocalypse type of film like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome that was filmed here.

“The ease of shooting here means that when you get everything in alignment, people then realise that everything they need is quite close.”

Pre-production on Cargo commenced in mid-July but a release date is still under consideration.

The film has also received production investment from Screen NSW and will be distributed by Umbrella in Australia and New Zealand, and internationally by Bankside and Icon UK.

Hotel Mumbai starring Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) was also being shot in South Australia and finished its Australian filmed portion last month.

The film revisits the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks through the eyes of the survivors and will continue filming in India once the monsoon season has ended.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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