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Black comedy Frederickstown takes on We Bury the Dead's Hollywood zombies in two major shoots in Albany

Black comedy Frederickstown takes on We Bury the Dead's Hollywood zombies in two major shoots in Albany


It is rare for two films to be filmed simultaneously in an Australian regional centre, according to highly regarded Australian actor and comedian Peter Rowsthorn.

On one side of the city of Albany, a major production of the zombie film We Bury The Dead, starring Hollywood star Daisy Ridley, is underway, with an estimated budget of nearly $8 million.

Across town, the community-funded black comedy Frederickstown is filmed on a shoestring budget of $250,000.

“It’s kind of like the Barbie and Oppenheimer thing,” Rowsthorn said.

crew standing with microphones filming on the beach

Hollywood production We Bury the Dead filming on one of Albany's picturesque beaches.(Provided)

Dark comedy versus zombie action

The actor, famous for his role as Brett in the popular Australian comedy Kath & Kim, spent several weeks in Albany filming Frederickstown with actors including Myles Pollard, Trevor Jamieson and Travis Jeffries..

It is written by local filmmaker Adam Morris and funded by the community.

Taking a shot, start man holding film information in front of camera before filming scene

Director Adam Morris is particularly proud of Frederickstown given its small budget and community involvement.(ABC Great South: Lauren Smith)

Filming on both films wrapped earlier this month, and although there was some brazen competition during filming, Rowsthorn said it was a good sign for Washington's film industry.

“It is extremely strange that this tiny town has just one giant movie [shot] it will probably be released all over the world and a very small, very small one, which will hopefully also have a place in a world film festival,” Rowsthorn said.

man wearing green shirt looking to the left and smiling

Peter Rowsthorn on the set of Frederickstown.(ABC Great South: Lauren Smith)

Rowsthorn said he decided to play the role of a “psycho killer” after just one look at the script.

“It’s so different from anything I’ve done before,” he said.

“Playing a psychopathic killer isn't normally in my wheelhouse. It's there, but I never had the chance to break out of it.”

Man wearing hat with beard rubbing hands and smiling while filming a movie scene

Director Adam Morris on the Frederickstown set.(ABC Great South: Lauren Smith)

This is Morris' third feature film and he is particularly proud given the low budget and community involvement.

“We have to be efficient, otherwise we won’t succeed,” he said.

“If you are one of our sponsors or patrons and you give us a dollar, we spend every penny of that dollar and we spend it very carefully.”

single arm containing production information

Frederickstown will be local director Adam Morris' third feature film.(ABC Great South: Lauren Smith)

It's not just cold hard cash donations, Morris said local locations have been scouted and generously provided by local businesses and groups as film sets.

“While this may be a limitation, it is a real strength,” he said.

“You can’t recreate this stuff even if you had millions of dollars.”

Hollywood is coming to town

We Bury The Dead has generated plenty of interest in the south coast town, with many hoping to catch a glimpse of star Daisy Ridley, who rose to international fame in a Star Wars trilogy.

Profile of a man overlooking a beach.

Western Australian writer and director Zak Hilditch in Albany for the production of We Bury the Dead.(Provided)

West Australian writer and director Zak Hilditch has thanked the community for their support after closing several streets for filming.

“We had an amazing time filming in Albany,” he said.

“I couldn't imagine a better backdrop to film We Bury The Dead, with the stunning scenery and rich history of Albany, and the people of Albany have been so welcoming and enthusiastic to welcome us here to present their beautiful city.

“We were so grateful to everyone who literally opened their doors to allow us to film in their homes, or closed the streets for us.”

A movie set.

The streets of Albany are full of film sets for We Bury the Dead.(Provided)

A booming film industry in Washington state

The filming comes as WA's big and small screen industry grows.

Just this week, Before Dawn premiered at Cinefest Albany, a war film shot in Esperance.

This follows filming of Blueback, Breath and Rams on the south coast in recent years.

In 2022-23, the state government announced nearly $19 million in funding to attract more production to the state.

And with the booming industry comes a demand for actors.

Man standing with arms crossed on a film set

Myles Pollard on the Frederickstown set.(ABC Great South: Lauren Smith)

Myles Pollard, who has been involved in many recent projects across the state, such as the Invisible Boys series and The Twelve miniseries, said it's great to be so busy.

Pollard said that while the experiences differ, the end goal is the same.

“There’s always a big difference between making a big commercial film or a big budget film,” he said.




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