NBC Universal’s
Stateless, South Australia

South Australia and Adelaide are making their mark as key shooting destinations with high-end TV dramas Stateless and Upright shooting back-to-back in the state.

It was important for producers Matchbox Pictures, part of NBC Universal, and Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton’s Dirty Films that refugee drama Stateless was filmed on location in Port Augusta, South Australia. With the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), the production was able to base itself at the Adelaide Studios and use a number of locations in the city.

“The SAFC has really re-invigorated the local film industry in recent years with a number of high-end productions shot in the state and the studios in the capital of Adelaide,” says Co-producer Upton. “And the Australian crews are great. They are upbeat and have a great can-do attitude. They are set a task and always achieve it.”

The story of Stateless, which was recently acquired by Netflix, has its genesis in events that partly took place at the now defunct Baxter Detention Centre in the remote town of Port Augusta, three hours north-west of Adelaide.

“It’s an Australian story which looks at a period of our history in its final days and some of the circumstances that led to offshore detention,” explains Co-creator and Producer, Tony Ayres.

“But we wanted it to feel international as these issues of displacement due to war, drought and natural disasters are global issues. It’s a conversation that we wanted to be part of that’s being had all around the world.”

Stateless was actually written with South Australia in mind: “the desert, the red sand and the vast open landscapes,” Ayres adds. “The Australian landscape is magnificent, unique and distinctive, which was really appealing for our story and it needed the authenticity of a location shoot. Port Augusta was important for the issue of visibility – that sense that refugees were being put ‘out of sight and out of mind’,” he says.

Upton says Port Augusta has that element of authenticity with the onshore detention facility in a harsh environment – as well as the magnificence of the locations. “The epic desert with its sunsets and the deep mythic spaces, speak to the human condition and their connection and separation,” he says.

“It was important to be there on location in Port Augusta as the sky and mountains are so important visually,” adds Location Manager Sarah Abbey. “Within a few minutes of our production base, we were also able to find roads, caravan parks and houses. Indeed, we found more than we could use.”

For Location support please speak to the South Australian Film Corporation