South Australia &
Western Australia

If Stateless is rooted in a detention centre but uses the landscape as a counterpoint, Upright, co-written by and starring Tim Minchin, unashamedly uses the vastness of Australia as its backdrop. The characters in this series traverse the country, with a number of sites in South Australia doubling in some instances for New South Wales and Western Australia, dazzling audiences and collecting rave reviews along the way since it released in November 2019!

“The story follows characters who are essentially on a road trip from Sydney to Perth, which covers 4,000 kilometres (2,485 miles),” Location Manager Jesse Goninon explains, “South Australia has such a varied landscape that it’s possible to shoot many different terrains that can double for other states but in this instance NSW and WA were easy matches.

“The South Australian reputation for varied visual aesthetics was a major contributing factor as we see some of Australia’s most beautiful regional areas like Quorn, the Flinders Ranges and the Nullarbor. But we end the story in Cottesloe, Perth which is an iconic West Australian beach with its inviting turquoise water and pristine, white sand.”

A big bonus for interstate and international crews filming here is the proximity of locations. “When we were filming in metro Adelaide our locations were no further than 15 minutes apart, which made our shooting days more efficient when dealing with location moves,” says Goninon. “Generally, South Australian councils are very film-friendly so even when we filmed in regional areas we were blessed with their generosity and ease of access.

“My task in finding diverse locations was made much simpler by the general strength of the film industry here and the way South Australia can accommodate large-scale production teams.”

Producer Jason Stephens calls Upright a road movie in the Australian desert but wanted to avoid the normal tropes. “We were mindful of never having a shot with a lizard on a rock, for example,” he says. “We want to surprise the audience with a different take on who and what is out there, seen through the lens of this young girl and her companion. Adelaide and regional South Australia offered a lot of opportunities for the looks we needed.”

Stephens says the time spent on location in the remote gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in the West Australian desert, couldn’t have been art directed any better. “All the locals were used as extras for a Two-Up game [Australian betting game] that we shot in a corrugated iron shed that’s been there for 100 years.

“We also had an amazing electrical storm which shut down production for 90 minutes but it was so atmospheric we kept shooting and were able to use it in the story,” he adds.

“We were fortunate with our pre-sale to Sky U.K. Our ambitions were high so we needed a finance plan to match. You can’t cheat the story when dealing with these locations as audiences expectations are that they will soak up the landscape,” Stephens says.

Ultimately, Upright could prove to be a great calling card for Australian locations.

“It is spectacular,” Stephens says “You do feel that after eight hours you know something more about Australia.”

For Location support please speak to the South Australian Film Corporation or Screenwest