Childers history to light up Hollywood screens
HOLLYWOOD'S cinematic circus is set to take Childers by storm with the production of a major motion picture in the pipeline.
Inspired by Lost Diggers glass photographic plates, the war film Photos in the Attic, to be filmed in the region and Vignacourt in France, is currently in the casting and location-scouting phase with the spotlight on Childers.
Writers and executive producers Michael and Donna Fiechtner were in Childers last week scoping out possible filming locations with Screen Queensland.
"We are very passionate about the history of Childers,” Mr Fiechtner said.
"We know the story of Gallipoli and the front line, but we don't know what happens behind the line at places like Vignacourt.
"That's what this film is about - it's a wonderful love story about a young man from Childers.”
Mr Fiechtner said he and his wife were looking at cane farms, red dirt and Queenslander homes to capture the heart of Childers and create a cinematographic contrast to the landscapes of Vignacourt.
Not only is the film historically based, but there is also an actual piece of history in the film: the Fiechtners have received permission from the Australian War Museum to use photographic plates in the film.
"It's a treasure trove of local history and the director believes it's going to be an Australian classic that will rate on the world stage,” he said.
Directing the film is Australian Rod Hardy, who has worked on shows like The Mentalist, The Librarians, Neighbours and movies including December Boys.
The film's producer is Australian Phillip Avalon, whose film Summer City launched Mel Gibson's career.
Mrs Fiechtner said the project started about four years ago when they met a director on a plane.
"We had the book The Lost Diggers and told him the story and he said 'that would make a good movie',” she said.
"We gave him our card and didn't think anything would come of it, but then three months later he called and said 'I was serious, let's make this movie'.
"So we wrote the script and it's all happening.”
Mrs Fiechtner said they really wanted Childers to be a part of the production.
"It's a love story and a local history story, World War One was horrific for the soldiers, but their was a battle on the inside many on the soldiers who fell in love while in France faced,” she said.
"The protagonist, is faced with that dilemma - does he stay with the French women he's fallen for or return home to his waiting love in Childers?”
Mr Fiechtner said the film will be a $10-12 million project which will bring up to 170 cast and crew members to Childers.
Filming for the war-drama is scheduled to begin between September and December.
Division 2 Councillor Bill Trevor said Photos in the Attic would bring historical publicity and economic growth to the town.
Cr Trevor said Childers' rich First World War history made it the perfect backdrop for the multi-million-dollar motion picture.
"I'm delighted to see some of the filming is taking place in Childers,” he said.
"Childers made a huge sacrifice in the First World War with the number of soldiers that went over and the number that didn't come home.
"The discovery of the See brothers' photograph really linked Childers to Vignacourt.”
The See brothers feature in the Lost Diggers after the glass photographic plate of their photo was rediscovered in 2010 in the Thuillier barn in Vignacourt, France.
The Thuilliers photographed hundreds of soldiers during the war.
Cr Trevor said the production would generate a lot of business for the area in terms of meals and accommodation.
"I believe a big star will be released shortly which is very exciting,” he said.
"There is talk of finding old houses and sugar cane as that was the industry during that time period.”
Cr Trevor said he welcomed the production and would help however possible.
The Bundaberg region has been the backdrop for several movies including:
- The Delinquents (1989)
- The Mango Tree (1977)
- Talking Back at Thunder (2017)