An Australian filmmaker is embracing regional production with his latest feature captured in the North East.
Corey Pearson, from Wollongong-based production company Villain Squad, filmed his fourth movie Cry Baby at secluded studio Chilternwood Multimedia Park over recent months.
The horror-thriller, predominantly set in an apartment in Poland, marks a significant step for talent in the Border and North East region.
Pearson, a proponent of regional filmmaking, stressed the importance of hiring local talent and said Villain Squad's latest project at Chiltern exemplifies this commitment.
"Getting away from the system and working with Chilternwood and the family that owns it is a crucial part of our story," Pearson said.
"The studio, built by the family patriarch, was designed to support filmmakers.
"Cry Baby is the first film to fully utilise Chilternwood's facilities, a tribute to the founder's vision and passion."
Pearson's approach extends beyond the crew, focusing also on nurturing new acting talent.
He shared a recent encounter with Kate Brooks, a recent film school graduate, who swiftly transitioned from a casual introduction at a cafe to running half of the art department on set.
Villain Squad has also committed to supporting her directorial debut in the future.
Cry Baby stars Sydney-based actress Lauren Grimson as Molly, the lead character grappling with a traumatic event.
Grimson, previously seen in The Possessed (2021), considers this her most significant role yet.
"Carrying a film is a dream for many actors, and I'm thrilled for this opportunity," she said.
Paul Hughes, playing Molly's husband Tom, and Samantha Allsop, portraying Charlotte, both praised the creative environment on set.
"The close-knit crew, staying together during filming, has fostered a unique dynamic, allowing for deeper connections and performances," Pearson said.
Pearson said transforming Chilternwood's homestead into a Polish apartment was a three-month endeavour, including the construction of a 15-metre hallway, an elevator, and a WWII-era underground basement.
"We've installed new bathrooms, but most of the walls are false, giving us the flexibility we need," he said.
Cry Baby follows Pearson's previous films The Spy Who Never Dies (2022), Harmony, and Message Man (both 2018).
Pearson said the Chiltern community, particularly the Lydoun Motel, Bird and Bike Cafe and Bar, and Chiltern post office had been instrumental in supporting the production, accommodating and catering for the cast and crew and assisting in finding local crew and extra accommodation.
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