/News 25.01.17


Long regarded as one of the world’s most liveable cities, Melbourne is also building on its reputation as a great place to produce feature films, with two thrillers to begin shooting at the city’s Docklands Studios in early 2017 – Stem and Winchester.

Stem is written and directed by Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the runaway hits Insidious and Saw, and stars Logan Marshall-Green of Prometheus. It’s the story of a paralysed technophobe who avenges his wife’s murder with the help of an experimental computer chip implant. Whannell said: “To be shooting this film on the streets of my beloved hometown of Melbourne is a dream come true.”

Stem co-producers Blumhouse and Goalpost Pictures Australia were lured to Melbourne through Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund. The same fund helped convince Blacklab Entertainment and Imagination Design Works to bring Winchester to Melbourne, with additional investment by Screen Australia.

Winchester is written and directed by Peter and Michael Spierig (Predestination) and stars Dame Helen Mirren in her first Australian shoot in almost 50 years. Mirren will play the role of Sarah Winchester, millionaire heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune who believes she is haunted by the spirits of all those killed by the company’s repeating rifle. Locations in and around Melbourne will double for her ‘haunted’ San Jose mansion in the late 1900’s, before shooting at the real Winchester Mystery House later in the year.

Film Victoria CEO, Jenni Tosi, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the peerless Dame Helen Mirren to Melbourne, and hope she’ll have time to experience our world-renowned culture and cuisine.”

Winchester will complete picture, sound and visual effects post production at Queensland’s Cutting Edge.


In shooting at Docklands Studios Melbourne, Stem and Winchester follow hot on the heels of HBO’s drama The Leftovers (Series 3), starring Justin Theroux. The series’ executive producer, Gene Kelly, has publicly praised the quality of the local crews, telling Fairfax Media in September 2016: “(Melbourne) has skilled technicians who go back and forth between television and feature films and we are getting a look here that is exceptional because the technicians are so qualified”.

Docklands Studios CEO, Rod Allan, said: “Attracting major productions such as Stem, Winchester and The Leftovers is a vote of confidence in the world-class facilities at Docklands Studios. We have a reputation for going out of our way to be flexible and helpful to all our productions. We also have the dual advantage of being a stone’s throw from central Melbourne while sitting next to a network of major highways that provide easy access to a diverse range of locations.”


Opening in 2004 as a state-of-the-art complex designed to attract more international productions, Docklands Studios Melbourne is wholly owned by the State of Victoria.