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'Australia's greatest Christmas film' is being shot near Callington
More than 100 cast and crew members have been shooting the Stan production A Sunburnt Christmas this month.
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The producers are calling it “Australia’s greatest Christmas film ever” – and it’s being shot right here in the Murray Bridge district.
A 100-strong film crew from Stan, Every Cloud Productions and Highview Productions has been out and about during the past fortnight shooting A Sunburnt Christmas, a children’s movie about a runaway criminal dressed as Father Christmas who crashes his sleigh on a drought-struck farm.
The film will represent a change of gear for actors Daniel Henshall, who previously portrayed one of the murderers in Snowtown, and Sullivan Stapleton, of American crime drama series Blindspot.
New talents Lena Nankivell, Eaden McGuinness and Tatiana Goode will play three young siblings, the fearless Daisy, anxious Tom and wily Hazel; while Ling Cooper Tang, of All Saints fame, will play their mother.
Directing will be Christiaan Van Vuuren, whose previous credits include Bondi Hipsters and – if you remember it – the Skit Box “activewear” bit.
Principal photography has been at a farm house on North Bremer Road at Callington, though the crew has also been spotted at the Murray Bridge Motor Inn and elsewhere around the area.
A few local people may even make appearances as extras.
Producer Lisa Scott told Murray Bridge News the crew’s schedule was tight, as the film was due to premiere on Stan within months – “you can’t release a Christmas film when it’s not Christmas”.
Despite the pressure, though, she was glad just to be working again.
“Highview Productions was about to start production on something when the world changed back in March,” she said.
“We stopped what we were doing – the industry went from 100 to zero overnight.
“It has been tough on the crews who were not eligible for Jobkeeper.”
Rarely had she worked on a production where there was so much positive energy on set, she said.
She described A Sunburnt Christmas as “a Christmas present to all Australians who’ve had it tough this year”.
Until this movie came along, Every Cloud Productions’ Fiona Egger said, she had asked herself: where were all the good Aussie Christmas films?
“A Sunburnt Christmas fills that void and celebrates what makes us uniquely Australian,” she said in a statement.
“It is a little bit irreverent, not very politically correct, has a big heart and is a lot funny.
“In a year where we could do with a little Christmas cheer, this is about creating our own miracles and finding faith in each other.”
The production is expected to add $2.9 million to the South Australian economy.
As well as Stan’s investment, it received funding from both Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation.