Shooting of film The Furnace means gold rush for WA’s Mid West

Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Actor David Wenham.
Camera IconActor David Wenham. Credit: Getty Images

A rollicking 1890s gold-rush story with an Afghan cameleer and a bushman on the run is proving a significant money spinner for local businesses, according to the Mid West Development Commission.

Shooting for The Furnace, starring Ahmed Malek and David Wenham, moved to Kalbarri last week after two weeks in Mount Magnet and Yalgoo.

Mid West Development Commission project manager Fiona Shallcross.
Camera IconMid West Development Commission project manager Fiona Shallcross. Credit: Geoff Vivian

MWDC project manager Fiona Shallcross said they negotiated considerable community opportunities while securing funding for the film.

“The IGA in Mount Magnet and the pub have done the most amazing business of the whole year,” she said.

MWDC chairman Todd West said 45 crew stayed 2475 “bed nights” in the region, spending $1.2 million in the Mid West. Ms Shallcross said they worked to negotiate lasting community benefits.

“We want tangible assets,” she said.

“A local station owner, she’s going to take some of the costumes and set material and that’s going to help her tourism business.

“The Mount Magnet museum is going to have the tin shack set so people can come and visit and experience the film again and again.”

Ms Shallcross said they also negotiated a film internship for a Mount Magnet boy, and school visits to the sets.

“We make sure that we have cast and crew mingling with the community so they feel that sense of ownership and pride,” she said.

“They’re absolutely loving it at Mount Magnet, they’re beaming.”

Ms Shallcross said the MWDC had worked to make the region “film friendly” and had made an agreement with The Furnace’s production company and film-funding body Screenwest.

“They’ve received some money and this is the first feature film we’ve been able to land in the region through this scheme,” she said.

Mr West said a free “regional pathways” forum with Screenwest would be held tomorrow in Geraldton. For details, visit https://lnkd.in/g_r_U46.

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