“We might be small but we’ve got a big spirit!”

Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage
Woodanilling, WA

“The project enabled us to capture valuable historical stories on camera which will be an enduring resource for future generations.”

The Woodanilling Heritage and Tourism (WHAT) Focus Group was offered the chance to be a part of the Film and Television Institute (FTI) Making Movies Roadshow and they knew they had to do whatever they could to make it happen.

Woodanilling, in WA, affectionately known as Woody, is one of eight shires in the Hidden Treasures of the Great Southern tourism group. It is 250 km south-east of Perth with a population of around 400 people.

Residents rarely get to experience artistic events in their own shire, and had never had a movie-making event before.

The Making Movies Roadshow (MMR) is an annual regional touring program offering digital film-making workshops and outdoor cinema screenings to people in remote communities in WA. MMR provides film skills training and builds self-esteem within regional communities through capturing and sharing the region's unique stories on film and assisting in the preservation of Australia’s unique cultural heritage.

A CATCH grant of $1,000 contributed to the cost of bringing the program to the town, and 10 participants took part.

Ms Annabel Pauley, WHAT Chairman, said it was a fantastic opportunity for all ages.

“It is doubtful the participants would ever have experienced the production of a movie from start to finish, had it not been for the MMR coming to their home town,” Ms Pauley said.

“They still talk about their experiences when they see shire council staff at community social events. ‘Awesome’, Great’ and ‘Brilliant' were words the participants used to describe their experiences.”

“One 14-year old showed a natural talent for filming and is seriously looking at pursuing work experience opportunities with the FTI in Fremantle. His gaining access to this project may see him develop a future career in the film and television industry. The impact this had on Woodanilling participants was enormous.”

Two movies were made over the whirlwind week, The Diary – a horror movie filmed in the allegedly haunted Woodanilling Tavern, and Welcome to Woody, featuring a group of young Woodanilling girls riding their ponies around the Woodanilling Heritage Walk to learn about local history.

A well-attended outdoor public screening of the films was held on the last night of the roadshow, with plans for the films to be continually played for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike on a touchscreen television in the new visitor interpretive centre at the Woodanilling railway building.