There's something thrilling about seeing familiar buildings and landscapes appearing on a screen, and shown around the world for people who have never set foot in Tasmania to see. Here's a sampling of films shot in Tasmania and representing Tasmanian stories.
Tasmania is having a bit of a moment when it comes to its on-screen portrayal.
A big-budget television production, the Gloaming, is due to drop soon, and the most recent film set here, the Nightingale, won international awards.
But our mysterious island has long been a popular destination for filmmakers.
The spectacular wilderness, as well as small towns filled with character, are magnets for directors looking for a particular natural setting inside which their stories can unfold.
Be warned, though, if you don't like films that are dark, supernatural, creepy, and all the other adjectives that fall under the general remit of Tasmanian Gothic, you won't find too much here.
Non-fictional Tasmanians know that sunshine, happiness, and positive life events have been known to occur on the island. But the gloomy wilderness and tumultuous histories that draws filmmakers do not lend themselves to cheery tales.
There are a few exceptions - like uplifting story Lion and the children's movie They Found a Cave - but for the most part, cinema set in Tasmania in starkly beautiful, harrowing, and hard to forget.
Here's a selection of some of the best.
The latest movie to bring a Tasmanian story to the world has also scooped up awards - and controversy - in the process. The Nightingale, set in 1826, follows a young convict woman who escapes into the perilous world of colonial-era Tasmania. She joins forces with an Aboriginal tracker to seek revenge on the members of the British Army that enacted terrible violence on her and her family. It's a bleak affair, unsparing in its portrayal of the blood-soaked normality for women and Aboriginal people during this period of Tasmanian history. Dozens of people walked out during its showing on the film festival circuit, unwilling to sit through its graphic depictions of rape and murder. But it also won the Special Jury Prize at the most illustrious of cinema events, the Venice Film Festival, where it's male lead Baykali Ganambarr also won Best Young Actor. It was further decorated with the Age Critics Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
See it: In cinemas - it's playing at the Star Theatre this week.
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
The film version of Richard Flanagan's novel was also directed by the Man Booker Prize winning author - the story goes that producer Rolf de Heer, who Flanagan approached to direct the screenplay, did not dare touch the rarefied source material. It's a slow-moving, heart-wrenching portrayal of the lives of the Eastern European diaspora that came to the Central Highlands to work on the Hydro scheme. It covers alcoholism, post-war trauma, father-daughter relationships, and complicated moments of touching humanity.
See it: On DVD, available on Amazon.
They Found a Cave
This lively children's adventure, released in 1962, represented the Australian film industry's foray into adapting its own books for young people. It's based on the book by Nan Chauncey, and was largely filmed on her property outside of Hobart. The plot follows five children, four English and one Australian, who foil the plot of a pair of wicked housekeepers who are trying to take over the family farm. It's a fun tale with some light suspense, and comedy provided by the adult antagonists who are pitted against the resourceful children.
See it: On DVD, available through lovingtheclassics.com
The Light Between Oceans
The Light Between Oceans, filmed at Stanley among other international locations, also had the distinction of creating a Hollywood romance: that of its two star leads, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, who are now married. They play a couple in the post-World War I era who, after failing to conceive their own children, find a baby adrift at sea in a rowboat. After raising the baby girl as their own, they struggle to give her up again. It's a tearjerker that also resulted in an uptick in tourists to Stanley, wanting to see the gorgeously captured scenery for themselves.
See it: On Netflix.
Rummin short films
Star Theatre general manager Katrine Elliot recommended the work of this Tasmanian production company. Particularly, two documentaries: Albatross Island and Doing it Scared. The former, she said, is "just the most extraordinary, extraordinary short film." It's a poetic look at an 18-hectare rocky island off the North-West Coast, home to 5200 breeding pairs of albatross. Doing it Scared is about expert climber and mountaineer Paul Pritchard, who was seriously injured in an attempt to scale the infamous Totem Pole in Tasman National Park. Eighteen years later, and still with a disability from his first attempt, he tries to climb the rock formation again.
See them: Rent or buy on Vimeo, and see all Rummin films at rummin.com
Even though it's mostly set in India, it would be remiss not to include this - justifiably - hugely popular movie. The heartwarming film is based on the true story of a young Indian boy adopted by a Tasmanian family. Nicole Kidman and David Wenham play the couple who adopt the boy, Saroo, and raise him in Hobart, after he gets lost in a train station in India and is too young to know how to get home. He struggles to survive on the streets of Kolkata, before being adopted into Tasmania. Against incredible odds, he manages to track down his biological mother as an adult, aimed with nothing but vague memories and Google Earth.
See it: Rent or buy through Amazon Prime or iTunes.
This environmental thriller starring Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, and Frances O'Connor is "an incredibly powerful movie right up to the last shot," according to the Star Theatre general manager Katrine Elliott. It follows a mercenary instructed by a military biotech company to find the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger.
See it: On Stan.
Van Diemen's Land
This well-reviewed horror-thriller is about cannibal convicts. It's loosely based on the story of Alexander Pearce, and shows the infamous historical figure fleeing the brutality of penal settlement Sarah Island with a band of fellow escapees. The art-house film switches between English and bits of Irish. It was described by one reviewer as a "grey, horribly-beautiful vision of Hell", and by another as "one of the most realistic cannibal movies ever made". It was also directed by a Tasmanian, Jonathan auf der Heide.
See it: On Stan.
This kooky, silly children's movie is about the son of a Tasmanian apple farmer. It imagines a young Albert Einstein, if he was Tasmanian and primarily concerned with beer and the electric guitar. Young Einstein leaves his homeland and embarks on a series of increasingly ludicrous, low-budget, vaguely science-related adventures. It was written, directed, and stars Australian entertainment personality Yahoo Serious, and has become a cult classic in the wake of its release in 1988.
See it: Rent or buy through Amazon Prime.
Love the Beast: A documentary from actor Eric Bana that is a homage to his car, after he crashes it in Targa Tasmania.
The Tale of Ruby Rose: David, of Margaret and David on At the Movies, said this was the most "visually ravishing film I have ever seen". It's a slow-moving psychological drama set in the central highlands.
Manganinnie: In 1830, Aboriginal woman Manganinnie survives a Black Line raid which claims the life of her husband. She journeys through the Tasmanian wilderness with a white woman, in this wholly Tasmanian production.
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