/News 26.10.21


The City of Busselton in Western Australia’s Southwest region is already a popular destination for filmmakers who descend upon the town every August for the annual CinefestOZ Film Festival, and now the city has been accredited as officially Film Friendly.

Following their successful partnership with feature film, Go! the city has been accredited as Film Friendly.

The city has streamlined its filming processes and appointed a Film Liaison Officer to create awareness, attract productions to the region, and provide producers with a seamless experience across all stages of production. Producer Jamie Hilton of See Pictures shared his Top 5 Highlights from filming Go! in and around the City of Busselton.

On set with Go! Producer Jamie Hilton, Director Owen Trevor and Producer Sonia Borella. Photo by David Dare Parker. Courtesy of See Pictures.

1. Diversity of locations

The region has a huge diversity of locations, from stunning empty white sand beaches, dry arid landscapes, rolling lush green hills, caves, ancient Karri forests, rolling vineyards, and a huge range of suburban streets which can be easily shut down or controlled. Our film was set in Busselton, but the region can double for virtually anywhere in the world. 

Meelup Beach, Dunsborough. Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.

2. Lifestyle

World-class beaches, wine-makers, food producers and chefs are a mecca for visiting cast and crew. It’s actually impossible to believe until you’ve spent a few weeks or more working in the region. The lifestyle in connection to the incredible natural world, while having world-class food/wine and a vibrant creative community, means that my wife and I have spent many guilty hours looking at dream property and talking about relocation. The amazing array of accommodations, due to it being a holiday haven for Perth residents, and an events center, caters for all above and below the line crew. A central base in Busselton can find you at all the locations above in less than 30 minutes. 

Behind the scenes of Go! William Lodder (Jack) on Busselton Pier. Photo By David Dare Parker. Courtesy of See Pictures.
Busselton Jetty Train, Western Australia.

3. Incentives

Let’s face it, producers are looking to minimise the net cost of the production or close our finance plan. That’s generally why we jump on a plane. On top of the 40% Producer Offset rebate, the City of Busselton invested in our film via the WA Regional Film Fund (now the WA Screen Fund, which is managed by Screenwest). There are government incentives at local, regional, state and federal levels, this added up to over 70% of our budget, which is quite incredible. During pre-production and financing, the City of Busselton and Screenwest provided Location Packages so the creative teams could assess viability, alongside the finance teams. Screenwest and their team were incredibly helpful. 

Scene from Go! with Colin (Darius Amarfio-Jefferson) and Jack (William Lodder), Busselton Dirt Kart Club, Western Australia. Courtesy of See Pictures.

4. Council and community engagement

No request was too hard. We were able to shut down the Busselton Jetty, a tourism icon, and race a Go-Kart up it. The city also supplied street locations free-of-charge and provided in-kind services like traffic management. The city workers even turned up to be extras in the film. The Wadundi people, the traditional owners and first nations people in the region are also incredibly welcoming, their leaders provided advice on the natural history, places we couldn’t visit, and welcomed us into their region. There’s a vibrant sense of culture, community, and language in the region.

Eagle Bay Beach, near Dunsborough. Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.

5. Did I mention Chardonnay and Cabernet?

This isn’t just a place where they produce good wine, it’s absolutely the finest wine in Australia, think of the Napa Valley or Bordeaux, but with the most incredible ancient and empty beaches, caves and forests right next door. I’m repeating points one and two here, it’s impossible to overstate. If you’re on the fence or even interested, and in or near Los Angeles right now, order a Margaret River Chardonnay or Cabernet from Woodland Hills Wines, it’ll be at your door in an hour! Then further consider. You’re welcome. (It’s much cheaper when you get here and may come with lunch with a winemaker).  

Aravina Estate, near Yallingup. Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.
Ngilgi Cave, Yallingup. Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.

“The Screenwest Film Friendly accreditation has allowed the City of Busselton to build on past experiences with filmmakers such as the very successful feature film Go! and hone our knowledge to offer effective collaborations with all involved in the process. Prospective filmmakers are spoilt for choice with a diverse selection of coastal, rural and urban location offerings.” said City of Busselton Film Liaison Officer, Peta Tuck.

Aravina Estate, near Yallingup, Western Australia.
Busselton Jetty. Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia and image credit Ben Reynolds.

About Film Friendly

Screenwest’s Film Friendly Western Australia Initiative includes a range of resources about Filming in Western Australia, as well as a training program to assist the Western Australian regional development commissions; local governments, tourism associations, chambers of commerce, stakeholders and partners that will smooth the path for incoming filmmakers.

For more information on filming in Western Australia, please contact Screenwest’s Production Attraction & Services Manager, Gabrielle Cole.

T: +61 8 6169 2100
E: [email protected]

Top feature image: Busselton Jetty. Image by Cheryl Hobson.