By Tricia Mifsud
A private property in Macedon Ranges Shire is the filming set for an American drama television – the largest television production to take place in Victoria in more than a decade.
NBC series La Brea follows a Los Angeles family separated from one another after a massive sinkhole mysteriously opens in the city.
Much of the filming is taking place in Port Melbourne, with some scenes filmed in the Hesket area.
A call-out for extras to appear in the television series went out in April, asking people to apply for paid work from May to late September.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council planning and environment director Angela Hughes said having the production in the shire was exciting.
“It’s exciting that the Macedon Ranges continues to be recognised as an area with unique locations for local and international film and television,” she said.
“Filming is being undertaken at a private property, east of the Calder Freeway. Being less than an hour from Melbourne, and with such varied topography, the Macedon Ranges has a lot to offer.”
Financially, the film is already contributing to the Macedon Ranges economy, with thousands of dollars being spent each night to accommodate the staff and actors.
Ms Hughes said the film would also drive tourism in the long term.
“Roughly $15,000 to $20,000 a night is being spent booking out local accommodation, and then there’s meals and eating out that goes with this. Local materials are also being purchased for set construction,” she said.
“As well as the immediate contribution to the local economy, film projects have the ability to drive tourism, inspiring locals and international visitors (when COVID-19 is over) to explore our shire.”
As well as filming, post-production and visual effects will be worked on in Victoria, injecting $60 million in the Victorian economy, and $71 million into Australia’s economy overall.
The project will also create work for an estimated 295 local businesses, with jobs for 290 local cast and crew members, and more than 1000 extras required.
La Brea was secured through the Victorian Screen Incentive, which was part of the State Government’s $33.8 million boost to the state’s screen industry announced last year. The production has also been backed by the Federal Government.
The Macedon Ranges Shire is no stranger to hosting celebrities, with Hollywood actor Zac Efron visiting Woodend in March.
Efron, who is living in Australia, visited Fable Food Co as part of filming for season two his Netflix series Down To Earth with Zac Efron.