Jerrawa landscape features in short film

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ARTS: The wide open spaces of the Yass Valley will feature in a short silent film celebrating 50 years since the establishment of the ACT suburb, Belconnen.

The film, The Surveyors, has been written, directed and produced by Justin Bush.

Filming wrapped up last weekend on his family’s property at Jerrawa, near the railway line at Bush’s Lane.

Justin said he spent a lot of time having adventures in the Yass Valley as a child, and was pleased to be able to show off some of the local scenery to a broader audience.

“Filming has taken place on my family’s property near Jerrawa. There’s a self-contained hut on the property, where myself, two actors and the crew spent the night out there last weekend,” he told Scoop on Sunday.

“We’ve used the various landscapes, gullies and trees to represent the state of Belconnen as it would have appeared in the 1970s.”

Producer/Director Justin Bush and Actor Miles Harrison rehearse a scene.

Producer/Director Justin Bush and Actor Miles Harrison rehearse a scene.

The film depicts West Belconnen in 1972, a time when the suburbs of Fraser, Spence and Flynn were still rural farmland. It follows the comedic story of a surveyor from the now defunct National Capital Development Commission working to survey a new area of Fraser, when he comes up against a rival surveyor who presents quite a few challenges, Justin explains.

“It’s a short, silent film, so everything is conveyed by action and music… I got a lot of inspiration from the Road Runner [cartoon] with the coyote and the bird…

so there’s a bit of sabotage along the way.”

It stars two stage and theatre actors in their film acting debut; Miles Harrison, who can be currently seen in the leading role of the stage adaption of Catch Me If You Can, and Zackary Drury, whose previous credits include roles in West Side Story and Little Shop of Horrors.

The film will be featured at national and international film festivals and has just been invited to form part of the Belco Flicks Festival and 50th birthday celebrations organised by the Belconnen Community Council in November.

Justin hopes to host a small local premier of the film once it’s finished in July.

Director of Cinematography Aaron King, Assistant Olga Royfman, Sound Recordist Andy Crofts, Co-Producer Ryan Kerlin, Junior Assistant Seth Reading, Producer/Director Justin Bush and Actor Miles Harrison prepare a scene as the day comes to an end.

Director of Cinematography Aaron King, Assistant Olga Royfman, Sound Recordist Andy Crofts, Co-Producer Ryan Kerlin, Junior Assistant Seth Reading, Producer/Director Justin Bush and Actor Miles Harrison prepare a scene as the day comes to an end.

It’s been a work of passion for the ABC Television researcher/archivist who makes films on the side through his company Austography Film Image Inc.

“I work in television, and I have a real love of local history. I had a friend of mine from the film community looking for a concept.

“When I started writing it, I realised a lot of the history I knew about Belconnen I could use in this film.

“I thought ‘I’ll make this film [myself]’, then we found out Belco was turning 50 this year, so it was the perfect opportunity to make [and market] this film.”

The biggest cost of the project, he said, was feeding the crew.

“It’s a passion project. Filmmaking is a hobby for me, I do it within my company.

So I self funded the whole thing.” The actors and crew have volunteered their services on a credit basis.

The property where filming took place is owned by Justin’s uncle Des Bush, and

is now maintained and looked after by his cousin Jamie Bush – who incidentally, is a surveyor…

Actor Zackary Drury as The Rival in a field scene.

Actor Zackary Drury as The Rival in a field scene.

Producer/Director Justin Bush, Co-Producer Ryan Kerlin, Director of Cinematography Aaron King, (in background) Actor's Miles Harrison and Zackary Drury check back on a scene just recorded.

Producer/Director Justin Bush, Co-Producer Ryan Kerlin, Director of Cinematography Aaron King, (in background) Actor’s Miles Harrison and Zackary Drury check back on a scene just recorded.

Katharyn Brine

Editor / Publisher

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