NEWCASTLE filmmaker Stuart McBratney has elevated his adopted hometown into one of the leading characters in his second feature film, which he will discuss at Imperial College London in July.
McBratney said about 80per cent of his independent film Pop Up was filmed in the city, at locations including Newcastle Beach, the Fernleigh Tunnel, Terrace Bar, Tuff’ N Up Boxing Gym, King Edward Park, the former railway crossing at Wickham, Bacchus shortly after it closed and the footbridge from Hunter Street Mall to the harbour.
‘‘We have everything here to create a world-class film,’’ McBratney said.
‘‘Newcastle is not pristine and perfect, or a city of brand new, bright, shiny buildings made out of glass and chrome.
‘‘It has a few rough edges that I’ve been really drawn to; it has that wonderful lived-in feel. That adds a certain sense of personality to the film and authenticity to the story.’’
But the role that Newcastle has played in Pop Up goes far beyond providing a setting for the script and most of the film locations.
Home-grown actor Brenton Prince has a major role in the self-financed film, which comprises three interweaving stories about people affected by one event.
McBratney is currently completing the colour grading at ‘‘world class’’ post production facility Final Post in Parry Street, Newcastle West, where he took up an offer five days of colour grading and cinema finishing for the price of two.
He is working with students from Hunter TAFE’s Advanced Diploma of Sound Production on the sound effects and dialogue re-dubbing. McBratney, a lecturer at the New York Film Academy, also edited the film in his research suite at the University of Newcastle, where he is completing his PHD in the production of ultra low budget feature films.
McBratney took up a tenancy in the first round of Renew Newcastle leases and used his King Street property as a ‘‘home base’’ for the film.
He was the last of the tenants from the first round to move out of his property, in April this year.
‘‘If I had to pay $400 a week for a studio in Sydney like I had here, there’s no way I would have been able to make this film,’’ he said. ‘‘Renew Newcastle, Final Post, the university and TAFE coming together has helped me to make this happen.’’
McBratney’s low-budget filmmaking methodology is the focus of his PHD paper, which he will present at the Tenth International Conference on the Arts in Society at Imperial College London from July 22 to 24.
‘‘Sometimes I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew, but my attitude is to just chew like hell,’’ he said.
The cast, crew and supporter screening of Pop Up will be held in mid-August.