Inside Film’s Jackie Keast examines why Docklands Studios appeals to smaller productions.

    Read More: IF Issue #177 Jun-Jul 2017

  • Size doesn’t matter at Docklands Studios

    Staying true to its goal of supporting emerging filmmakers, Docklands Studios recently welcomed debut writer-director John Fraser and his independently financed Choir Girl.

    Shot in black and white, Choir Girl is the story of a lonely photographer obsessed with a teenage prostitute being controlled by an underworld criminal. It stars Peter Flaherty (The Leftovers), Roger Ward (Mad Max), Krista Vendy (Neighbours), Andy McPhee (Ali’s Wedding), Kym Valentine (Neighbours), Jack Campbell (All Saints), and VCA graduate Sarah Timm.

    With a budget of around $600,000, Choir Girl made the most of its month-long stint in Sound Stage 4, constructing two main sets of a hotel then converting these into an apartment. Even the overhead gantry and production offices featured in scenes, according to producer Ivan Malekin of Nexus Production Group. “If we were going out and trying to find all these locations we’d be constantly moving and that takes a lot of money and a lot of effort. So being at Docklands actually allowed us to save money. You wouldn’t think so with a massive studio but it made the production more efficient.”

    Fraser completed the gritty urban look at various Melbourne landmarks including Pentridge Prison and St Kilda’s Oslo Hotel.

    During their time at Docklands the cast and crew of Choir Girl rubbed shoulders with a number of larger productions, including the Spierig Brothers’ Winchester, starring Helen Mirren.

    “It adds a certain level of legitimacy and excitement to the production when you’re rolling up to work at Docklands every morning – you get a good energy in the air,” said Malekin.


  • Capturing the last days of Bali Nine prisoner

    It’s a long way from a prison cell in Indonesia to Docklands Studios Melbourne. Yet here in a brightly lit sound stage a film crew has been recreating the final days of Myuran Sukumaran, an Australian drug trafficker executed in Indonesia on April 29, 2015.

    In an intimate set dwarfed by the vast space, actor Adam McConvell channels a frenetic Sukumaran, painting his final artworks as he awaits the firing squad.

    Around the set are tangible connections to Sukumaran – five of his paintings were loaned to the production by his family. Christie Buckingham, Sukumaran’s real life spiritual adviser, represents herself in these final scenes and debut director Matthew Sleeth befriended Sukumaran while running art classes in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison alongside Archibald Prize winner Ben Quilty.

    These scenes inside the cells, filmed over five days, are what producer and co-writer Maggie Miles describes as “the soul of the piece”, adding “it was only a dream that we could film at Docklands Studios Melbourne. [CEO Rod Allan] was really supportive and we’re very grateful for his belief in the project”.

    • (c) Peter Milne

    These creative scenes will be edited with archival footage of Sukumaran’s case and that of fellow Bali Nine prisoner Andrew Chan, interviews, and footage from a posthumous exhibition of Sukumaran’s work held as part of the Sydney Festival last January at Campbelltown Arts Centre.

    The team behind this hybrid film, working title Guilty, hope to engage with people who believe the death penalty is an appropriate punishment. Miles says it comes with a great sense of responsibility. “We’re conscious of handling and managing a story which belongs to others and is incredibly sensitive in many ways.”

    Guilty will debut at the Adelaide Film Festival in October.

    The team from Guilty includes director and co-writer Matthew Sleeth, producer and co-writer Maggie Miles (The Turning), co-writer Matthew Bate (Shut Up Little Man) and script consultant Andrew Bovell (Lantana). The executive producers are Robert Connolly (Paper Planes) and Rebecca Summerton (Sam Klemke’s Time Machine). 

    Guilty has been supported by HIVE (a collaboration between Adelaide Film Festival, ABC Arts, Screen Australia, and Australia Council), Good Pitch, Film Victoria, and private investment.



  • Usain Bolt reaches the speed of a sound stage

    It’s not every day The Fastest Man Alive appears in one of our sound stages.

    On this occasion, Usain Bolt came by to shoot an ad campaign for Optus. With the Olympic champion on a tight schedule, the ad makers built a series of bespoke and green and blue screen sets, to move Bolt efficiently through takes.

    The series of 5 to 45 second TVC’s by creative agency The Works and production company Emotive, were designed to showcase the Optus 4G Plus network.

    With the slogan “Ever Wondered What Life is Like at the Speed of Bolt?”, the campaign taps into the fun side of Bolt’s personality, showing him sprinting as the ground explodes, watching soccer on his phone and dancing to music.

    Shot entirely at Docklands Studios, the campaign builds on the telco’s relationship with Bolt who starred in the 2016 “Relentless” campaign.

  • Cardboard movie set ticks all the boxes

    An Australian film found a unique way to save time and money while shooting at Docklands Studios Melbourne – making some of the sets from cardboard.

    Like most indie productions, the sci-fi action feature, The Wheel sought a big look on a limited budget. The challenge was to build a 15-metre-long concrete corridor for the story about a paraplegic inmate who becomes a ‘lab rat’ in a scientific experiment.

    The corridor had to match the concrete interior of the Hoppers Crossing Pumping Station outside Melbourne, where other scenes were being filmed. The producers flinched at quotes for building the set with the usual materials such as plywood, steel or cement, and even considered omitting the corridor scenes.

    Enter Liam McLachlan – the 20-year-old son of the movie’s Director Dee McLachlan – who knows a thing or two about cardboard. Since age 13, Liam has been obsessed with Boxwars, a hobby where people construct elaborate costumes and props for themed battles in public parks.

    Having built armour, weapons and four-wheeled vehicles from cardboard, designing a corridor was all in a day’s fun for Liam. Under the direction of production designer Robert Webb, Liam used an open source computer program called Blender to create a 3D-model where he could place a virtual camera inside the world of the set.

    “Everyone was incredibly sceptical that it would ever work. I think we slowly convinced them, and once we did a trial day, which showed them what it would look like, Rob, the designer was instantly sold. He loved it,” Mclachlan said.

    The build took less than two weeks, with McLachlan working alongside close friends and fellow Boxwars enthusiasts, Will Burgin Stevenson and Noah Burdekin. A hot glue gun was used to put the panels together. “That stuff is amazing, it dries in about 30 seconds, and it’s cheap!” Scenic artists then came in to complete the concrete bunker effect.

    The cardboard is recyclable and surprisingly strong, according to McLachlan. “If you put it vertically it holds a lot of weight as long as you have the correct angle. So every sheet of cardboard is one and a half metres wide and you have four triangle struts at right angles, and the roof sat on top of that.”

    Naturally there are limits to the amount of pressure cardboard can withstand. Three other sets for the movie – a board room, a control room and a ‘steel’ room – were built from timber, steel and plywood or a combination of these materials.

    The cost of cardboard is a fraction – Liam estimates around one tenth – of other commonly used building materials. Other cost savings were found by shooting at Docklands Studios, according to The Wheel producers Veronica Sive and Silvio Salom. “Regardless of the external conditions, in the stage we could shoot 10 hour days on the various sets. With two cameras rolling on one particular day we managed 88 set ups,” said Sive.

    As for the cardboard sets, McLachlan might have just stumbled on a winning business idea. Completing a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University majoring, not surprisingly, in physics, McLachlan has already been contacted by at least one other screen production, while the producers of The Wheel hope to use his skills in their next movie later this year.

    McLachlan concedes The Wheel may not be the first time cardboard have appeared on screen – the long-running TV series Doctor Who comes to mind. But he adds, “some of those sets looked so cheap and obviously made out of cardboard. This is the first time it’s been done well!”

    The Wheel is produced by Veronica Sive and Silvio Salom of SunJive Studios and directed by Dee McLachlan (Out of the Shadows, The Jammed). It stars David Arquette (Scream) alongside Jackson Gallagher (Patrick, Home and Away) and Kendal Rae (Out of the Shadows, The Shannara Chronicles).

    It tells the story of a paraplegic inmate (Jackson’s Matt Mills) forced to take part in a scientific experiment that will give him use of his legs. Dr Emmett Snyder (Arquette) along with Dr Allison Turner (Rae) push Mills to breaking point, as he fights off a succession of assailants, mysteriously becoming stronger.

    You can see more of Liam McLachlan’s work at:


  • Why Melbourne trumped other cities to host The Leftovers series finale

    “A little bit weird and a little bit different” is how showrunner Damon Lindelof describes Melbourne.

    Read more

  • Berlin Syndrome at Docklands Studios

    Fairfax film writer Karl Quinn talks to Berlin Syndrome director Cate Shortland about piecing together a film shot on opposites sides of the globe.

    Read more

  • Docklands Studios hits a high note

    We’ve started the year on a high note, with all five sounds stages fully booked.

    Among the productions is The Wheel, directed by Melbourne filmmaker Dee McLachlan (The Jammed) and featuring Hollywood actor David Arquette, who starred in the 1990’s Scream franchise.

    David Arquette, Jackson Gallagher and Kendal Rae at Docklands Studios (Photo: Josie Hayden, Herald Sun)

    Arquette joins Victorian actors Jackson Gallagher (Home and Away) and Kendal Rae (Out of the Shadows) in the independently financed feature set in the near future where prisoners are the subjects of scientific experiments.

    Producer Silvio Salom said “The Wheel is the first of a slate of films that SunJive Studios is embarking on in a privately funded business model aimed at creating a sustainable flow of productions in Victoria. Docklands Studios has been extremely accommodating allowing us to create a film look that is many times the actual budget”.

    Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, visited the set of The Wheel on April 6, declaring that the production boom was “a sign of the strength, and diversity, of Victoria’s screen sector”.

    Also on the lot, another local project, Choir Girl is underway. The low budget thriller, starring former Neighbours regulars Krista Vendy and Kym Valentine, tells the story of a lonely photographer who becomes obsessed with a 15 year old girl.

    And a feature length documentary Guilty, has taken over a sound stage for a two week shoot. The film marks the directorial debut of Melbourne artist Matthew Sleeth and details the final 72 hours in the life of Myuran Sukamaran of the ‘Bali Nine’.

    Other sound stages are occupied by Winchester and Channel Nine’s live audience programs, The AFL Footy Show and Millionaire Hot Seat.

    Choir Girl movie (Source: Nexus Production Group)

  • Stars light up our city

    Anthony Galloway, State Political Reporter for the Herald Sun joined Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley on a visit to our sound stages.

    Read More

  • Production Boom At Docklands Studios Melbourne

    Read More: Docklands Studios Melbourne press release 7 April 2017

  • Melbourne the backdrop for HBO series

    Victoria’s scenic landscapes and some Melbourne landmarks will flash across U.S. screens in April, when HBO launches the third season of The Leftovers.

    With leading character Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) at large in Australia for this final series, the official trailer provides glimpses of Victoria’s vast open spaces, the red dirt roads of the outback, and Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay with the iconic West Gate Bridge in the background.

    The city’s trademark graffiti lane ways and 19th century State Library reading room are part of the backdrop as Garvey deals with impending doom foretold by the words “13 days to go” written in the sky.

    The Leftovers, co-created by Damon Lindelof (Lost), tells of those left behind after the Sudden Disappearance of two per cent of the world’s population.

    Series one and two were filmed in New York and Texas respectively, with the producers choosing Victoria for the final eight episodes which shift the story to Australia. The series used Docklands Studios sound stages, construction workshop and various production offices during a three month stay in 2016.

    The Leftovers will screen on HBO on April 16 and Foxtel Australia on April 20.

    Scott Glenn (Credit: Ben King/HBO)

  • Berlin Syndrome behind the scenes

    Ahead of the release of director Cate Shortland’s stylish new psychological thriller, here’s a peek inside the Docklands Studios set of the Berlin apartment where much of the action takes place.

    Berlin Syndrome movie poster (Source: Entertainment One Films ANZ)

    A team led by production designer Melinda Doring created the apartment where Andi (Max Riemelt) keeps Clare (Teresa Palmer) captive over several months after they meet on the streets of Berlin.

    The designers matched these interiors, as well as a specially built facade, with exteriors of a real Berlin apartment block that Doring and Shortland identified on an earlier visit to the German city. Filming was split between Berlin and Melbourne during 2015.

    Doring’s team, which included Stephen Speth in Berlin and Janie Parker in Melbourne, captured the look and feel of a rundown East Berlin apartment block, right down to light fixtures brought in from Berlin and details on the small, double glazed windows that help keep Clare imprisoned.

    Festival screenings at Sundance, Berlin and Glasgow indicate the film, produced by Polly Staniford, is set to be a hit with both audiences and critics.

    The sets have already garnered one gong – the Docklands Studios Best Set Trophy for 2015!

    Berlin Syndrome is scheduled for worldwide theatrical release in April.

    (Photo credits: Ben King with kind permission from Aquarius Films)

  • Helen Mirren is in the building!

    We’re thrilled to have Helen Mirren working her Academy Award winning magic in our sound stages.

    It was announced on March 15 that principal photography had commenced on the supernatural thriller Winchester, in which Mirren plays the starring role.

    (Credit: Trevor Leighton/

    Mirren plays firearm heiress Sarah Winchester, who was convinced she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle.

    Alongside Mirren, who won an Oscar for The Queen, the film stars Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Zero Dark Thirty), Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker, The Glass Castle), and Angus Sampson (Insidious, Fargo).

    Producer Tim McGahan (Blacklab Entertainment) and writer-director twins Michael and Peter Spierig are on a return visit to Docklands Studios Melbourne – they were here in 2013 making the Ethan Hawke thriller, Predestination.

    Winchester will shoot later in the year on location at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.

  • From building kitchen cabinets to making movies

    You never know where a chance encounter will lead you in life – just ask Ross Murdoch.  Back in 2000 he was a house carpenter having a quiet drink in a pub when he struck up a conversation with a stranger, who happened to be a set painter on a popular kids’ TV series, Saddle Club. Murdoch went away with the phone number of the series’ art director and within days found himself on set building horse stables.

    Ross Murdoch in the workshop at Docklands Studios Melbourne

    Fast forward to 2017 and Murdoch is one of the busiest construction managers in Victoria’s film industry. He’s in charge of sets for the new sci-fi thriller Stem, by writer-director Leigh Whannell, who’s back home in Melbourne after a big splash in Hollywood with Insidious and Saw.

    In the cavernous workshop at Docklands Studios – a former maintenance depot for the Port of Melbourne – Murdoch leads a 25-strong crew creating a world in the near future where technology controls almost everything. Stem is the story of a paralyzed technophobe using an experimental computer chip to avenge his wife’s murder.

    Docklands Studios Melbourne large workshop

    The workshop at Docklands Studios has provided sets for dozens of film and TV productions

    As trucks rumble in with building materials and machinery, Murdoch pauses to reflect on a career spanning two dozen film and TV productions, building sets or heading construction. Highlights include an elaborate old London street scene for the Gold Coast shoot of Peter Pan (2003) and a dilapidated Mexican church for the Docklands shoot of Ghost Rider (2007). For the West Australian shoot of Red Dog: True Blue (2016), Murdoch created an underground cave filled with water. On a tight budget and a fast turnaround his team sculpted the cave from concrete in Perth and trucked it in sections to the filming location where it was sealed and filled with water.

    Murdoch’s longest project was the $200 million blockbuster The Pacific (2007-08), at the time the most expensive mini-series ever made.  As second in charge of construction, Murdoch spent six months in tropical far north Queensland crafting bloody battle scenes from World War Two. Then came five months based at Docklands Studios, including the re-creation of 1940’s Melbourne in the city’s CBD for the dramatic re-enactment of US troops arriving in town.

    Along the way, he had a stint on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, running a fleet of 80 trucks transporting crew and equipment for the ambitious World War Z (2013) – a job he rates as his most stressful to date.

    “Murdoch seems to thrive on tight timelines and budgets, along with the pattern of working feverishly for weeks on end.”

    Over the years, Murdoch’s steady-as-a-rock persona has served him well in the high-pressure world of film – 12 to 13 hour days crafting sets, adding finishing touches as the cast and crew move in, while making every dollar count. “When we start a shoot, I’ll discuss ideas with the art department and they’ll get their people to start drawing things up. That’s when I start costing things, trying to justify each expense to the art director.”

    These days Murdoch spends most of his time in his hometown Melbourne, and has been a familiar face at Docklands since it opened in 2004, on productions such as Where The Wild Things Are (2009), Predestination (2014) and Childhood’s End (2015). As sets take shape in the workshop, Murdoch has created a family atmosphere among the tight knit crew. His wife, Jess Rogers, coordinates travel and transport while their Blue Heeler, Zissou, greets visitors with a friendly lick.

    Murdoch seems to thrive on tight timelines and budgets, along with the pattern of working feverishly for weeks on end interspersed with down time. With the Stem shoot close to wrapping up, he and Jess are looking to grab a quick break before the next project comes along.  In April, he’ll be keeping an eye on the small screen for the launch of Season 3 of The Leftovers. Murdoch was construction manager on the acclaimed mini-series, shot at Docklands Studios and around Melbourne during 2016.

    Bringing filmmakers’ visions to life is an unexpected career path for a bloke who used to knock together house frames. So, what about the guy he met in the pub all those years ago? Well, fate has brought them back together, making sets for Stem. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably still be building kitchens,” Murdoch laughs.

    (Staff writer Belinda Tromp spoke to Ross Murdoch in March 2016)

  • Docklands Helps Bring Hollywood Down Under

    Fairfax Media reports that the Australian film industry has started 2017 on a high.

    Read more: 

  • Golden Boy of Horror Comes to Docklands

    “Saw” co-creator Leigh Whannell returns home for his latest production, as Fairfax Media looks back on his brilliant career.

    Read more:

  • Master of horror returns to Melbourne

    Docklands Studios Melbourne continues to attract high profile productions with the December 15 public announcement of writer-director Leigh Whannell’s new sci-fi thriller Stem.

    Leigh Whannell made his directorial debut with Insidious: Chapter 3. Photo:

    Creating around 200 jobs and injecting millions into Victoria’s economy, Stem is in pre-production at Docklands and was brought here through Film Victoria’s production incentive fund. Starring Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus, Spider-Man: Homecoming), Stem will be made in association with Goalpost Pictures Australia and Blumhouse Productions.

    Docklands Studios CEO Rod Allan says Stem enhances the international reputation of the studios, with Helen Mirren’s new thriller Winchester also to start pre-production and HBO’s The Leftovers wrapping up filming in September. “We’re delighted that influential film-makers like Leigh Whannell, along with Goalpost and Blumhouse, recognise the world-class facilities we have at Docklands.”

    Whannell says “It is not only hugely exciting for me to be making Stem but to be doing it in Australia makes it extra special, utilizing the incredibly talented artists we have here to realize the film with me. And to be shooting this science fiction film on the streets of my beloved hometown of Melbourne is a dream come true for me.”

    Stem will start filming in early 2017 and centres on a technophobe who avenges his wife’s murder with the help of an experimental computer chip called Stem.

  • Sound Stage becomes a crash scene

    Award-winning production company FINCH took over Sound Stage 4 for two days to shoot a new anti-speeding campaign on behalf of Clemenger BBDO for Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission.

    A number of crashed cars were placed inside an arc of street lamps to depict what happens when a car runs into boy on a bike – seven different scenarios at seven different speeds.

    FINCH Producer Kate Merrin says Docklands is the only space in Melbourne large enough to accommodate the cars in light-locked space.
    45 crew worked on the shoot which was seamlessly stitched together with computer generated  elements.


  • Golden Age of Circus comes to Docklands

    There was magic in the air at Docklands Studios in November as many of the world’s top circus acts performed together for the very first time.

    Circus 1903 includes acts from all corners of the world – including acrobats from Ukraine, a high wire act from Mexico, a knife thrower from Brazil and jugglers from France.

    The biggest drawcard is two live elephants. Well not actually live, but close enough to the real thing – mother and baby puppets created by the award-winning team behind War Horse. 

    Circus 1903 at their first media appearance in Sound Stage 4. Photo: Fairfax Media

    Two weeks in a Docklands sound stage gave the 60 performers the chance to rehearse Circus 1903 from scratch.

    Circus 1903 rehearsing in Sound Stage 4. Photo: Andrew Spencer

    Executive Producer, Andrew Spencer says using Docklands Studios was a ‘no-brainer’ because it was the only place he could find in Australia that was both high enough for the 12-metre circus truss and close to cafes where cast and crew could have a break.

    “We divided the sound stage in half using a humungous black curtain, with one side as a rehearsal space and the other side was where the set was built.”

    The set was assembled around an old-style circus wagon shipped from Brazil with additional scenic props and soft furnishings made in Docklands Studios’ workshops.

    “Not only were we rehearsing, but we were also running a scenic studio, and a wardrobe space to fit costumes. Music was being composed in the venue as well — our composer came from the UK for three weeks and sat in one of the rooms adapting the music to how the show was evolving”, Spencer says.

    Circus 1903 bills itself as a turn of the century circus spectacular and comes from the producers of the ‘biggest selling magic show’ The Illusionist and puppeteers from London’s Significant Object.

    The show is touring Australia from December through January before heading to the United States.

    Circus 1903 rehearsing in Sound Stage 4. Photo: Andrew Spencer

  • Haunted house comes alive at Docklands

    When you’ve been around the Melbourne screen industry for as long as Vanessa Cerne then Docklands Studios feels like a second home.

    Cerne’s talents as a set decorator can be seen in more than half a dozen filmed-at-Docklands productions, including Predestination (2014), Partisan (2015), The King’s Daughter (2017), Childhood’s End (2015) and The Leftovers (2017). Now Cerne’s back on the lot, this time for the supernatural thriller, Winchester.

    Cerne’s brief is to bring to life the interiors and exteriors of the mansion built by firearm heiress Sarah Winchester in San Jose from 1884, following the deaths of her daughter and husband. Helen Mirren will play Winchester, a woman who believed she’d been cursed by the spirits of all those killed by Winchester rifles over the years. Winchester thought she’d be able to appease the spirits by adding more rooms to the mansion, and by the time she died in 1922 the house had 160 rooms, 2,000 doors and 10,000 windows.

    The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose includes doors that lead to nowhere. Photo Wikimedia Commons.

    These days the ‘Winchester Mystery House’ is a popular tourist attraction in San Jose and will be used for some of the exterior shots. Recreating and imagining the interiors is no mean feat – the mansion’s rooms were completely stripped when Winchester died and little trace is left of the original contents. Cerne is researching images in books and online relating to the Winchester mansion that was built in the Queen Anne style and is renowned for its architectural curiosities.

    Fresh from the successful HBO series The Leftovers, Cerne is on a roll.  For the shoot on Winchester, Cerne is working with production designer Matt Putland, writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig and other art department personnel that also worked on Predestination. “It feels a bit like getting the band back together”, jokes Cerne.

    Cerne, who won an Australian Production Design Guild Award for Set Decoration for her work on Predestination and Partisan, thrives on collaboration. “After establishing an overall visual style with the designer, my team and I revel in transforming the blank canvas of a set. With specific details, I’m able to create an authentic environment revealing more about who the character is and the worlds they inhabit.”

    Produced by Blacklab Entertainment’s Tim McGahan and Imagination Design Works’ Brett Tomberlin, Winchester starts an eight week pre-production in January 2017 with shooting to begin in March.

    The Bar in Predestination (2014) – Set Decorator Vanessa Cerne

    1960s Space Corp in Predestination (2014) – Set Decorator Vanessa Cerne (Photo courtesy of Ben King)

    Interior of the compound in Partisan (2015) – Set Decorator Vanessa Cerne
    (Photo courtesy of Ben King)

  • HBO series filmed in Melbourne as government incentives and low dollar work in Australia’s favour

    Hollywood producer Eugene Kelly – a long-time fan of Docklands Studios –  sat down with Fairfax business reporter Lucy Battersby to explain the appeal of working in Melbourne.

    Read More: HBO series filmed in Melbourne as government incentives and low dollar work in Australia’s favour


  • Making movies on a budget at Docklands Studios

    As the new bushranger epic, The Legend of Ben Hall continues its tour of Australia, the movie’s producer explains how he stayed on top of a tight schedule and budget.

    From the first production meetings for The Legend of Ben Hall producer Russell Cunningham knew one thing for sure: “We needed a sound stage to save time and money.”

    While director Matthew Holmes had had little experience with sound stages, Cunningham saw the advantages. “I wanted a roof over our heads so we weren’t bound to the weather and didn’t have to hire expensive facilities like toilets, electricity or water. I couldn’t bear not knowing if it was going to rain or not, or worrying about getting sets from one place to another on the back of a truck”, Cunningham says.

    With this in mind he knocked on the door of Docklands CEO, Rod Allan who, according to Cunningham, was “flexible, accommodating and keen to support Holmes as an emerging director”.

    What Holmes managed to do in just two weeks at Docklands was to capture almost all the indoor scenes for the movie. One key scene was set was in the tiny town of Binda in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. It was here on December 26th, 1864 that Hall and his gang held the entire township captive at the Boxing Day ball in the local hotel.

    The Binda Ball set recreated the intimate interior of an 1860s country pub

    The Binda Ball set recreated the intimate interior of an 1860s country pub

    The sprawling set of the Binda Ball was a hive of activity over two and a half days of shooting. Extras rehearsed colonial style dances while teams of wardrobe, hair and makeup staff worked their magic. The set itself was constructed at Docklands to recreate the feel of an 1860s hotel, complete with wooden dance floor.

    To get through the Binda Ball scene quickly and efficiently, Holmes decided not to shoot the sequence shot by shot. Instead, he had two cameras covering every scene at all times, with the sizeable cast performing in long takes of up to two or three minutes.  The resulting sequence came together smoothly in the edit suite and is one of the movie’s most dramatic.

    The cast performed the key Binda Ball sequence in long takes of up to two or three minutes

    The cast performed the key Binda Ball sequence in long takes of up to two or three minutes

    Another way the Ben Hall crew made the most of every dollar was designing sets that could be reconfigured to create different interiors. One particular hut was redressed by the Art Department in seven ways.

    The two room set of the Binda Ball was later used for Morriss’ General Store and the Breadalbane Inn.

    The two room set of the Binda Ball was later used for Morriss’ General Store and the Breadalbane Inn.

    The Docklands Studios sound stage was used for two of the eleven weeks of shooting, a decision that Cunningham says kept stress levels in check. “Having the costumes, make up, wardrobe right there, we couldn’t have done it without that. Thank God we had toilets and kitchens and so on – you don’t get that luxury on location!”

    Production days at Docklands were a contrast to the shooting of outdoor scenes in rural Victoria and New South Wales, where cast and crew faced extreme weather. One outdoor scene for the Binda Ball was shot in sub-zero temperatures after midnight with actors in thin costumes for a summer evening in December.

    The Legend of Ben Hall is the story of the last months of Hall’s lengthy criminal career. His life has been unravelling since his wife Biddy ran off with his friend Jim Taylor, taking Hall’s 3-year-old son, Henry. Ben Hall is played by Sydney actor Jack Martin who appears to bears a strong resemblance to the bushranger.

    American-born Cunningham – a long-time fan of Westerns – is confident The Legend of Ben Hall will have broad appeal. “Australia is a tough market, you can’t just focus on the domestic audience. You need international appeal and this movie has that already.”

    On the prospect of bringing future projects to Docklands Studios, Cunningham is unequivocal. “One thousand per cent we’d love to come back to Docklands. No, make that two thousand percent, or three thousand!”

    Jamie Coffa (as Ben Hall's partner-in-crime, John Gilbert) as he appears on screen at the Binda Ball

    Jamie Coffa (as Ben Hall’s partner-in-crime, John Gilbert) as he appears on screen at the Binda Ball


  • HBO hit series puts Docklands Studios Melbourne in the Spotlight

    The producers of HBO’s critically acclaimed The Leftovers did not have far to look for a leading art director when they shifted production of the series to Melbourne’s Docklands Studios this year.

    With an impressive list of film and TV credits including The Railway Man, Lion, Tracks, The Sapphires and The Slap, Melbourne’s Janie Parker was an obvious choice to lead an art department of around 60, with all but one drawn from the city’s large pool of creative talent.

    The Leftovers tells the story of a world where two per cent of the population has inexplicably vanished, seen through the eyes of two families dealing with the aftermath. It was co-created by Damon Lindelof, Emmy winner for Lost, and Academy Award nominated writer Tom Perrotta.

    While viewers have to wait until 2017 to see how this third series takes The Leftovers story from Texas to Australia, it’s already clear that Victoria’s vast landscape will be heavily showcased.

    Featured locations include the wide vistas just west of Melbourne, the city’s expansive Port Phillip Bay and picturesque green landscapes. Additional filming took place at Docklands Studios where sets and props were also constructed.


    “Filming on The HBO series, The Leftovers in Stage 4” – ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

    “One of the challenges with a TV series like The Leftovers was the fast turnaround of sets built both in studio and on location compared with some feature films which have longer pre-production times”, Parker says. “The layout of Docklands Studios was perfect for us. Our art department design hub was upstairs so I could run down to see progress on the sets and props, or check in with the costume department or production office also located on the lot. And the amount of parking so close to the city is a big bonus for saving time.”

    New York based Production Designer John Paino (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) created a different look and feel to the first season of The Leftovers with a new colour palette and design style. Parker set about marrying Paino’s preferred use of vivid colour with the typical bleached look produced by Australia’s sometimes harsh natural light.

    Paino’s detailed mood boards were a vital reference point to introduce the style to the art team, along with gathered images from magazines, books and the internet. Even Australian landscape painters Tom Roberts and Albert Namatjira served as inspiration for the look of The Leftovers.

    With the series now in post-production, Parker has handed over the design bibles to leading Melbourne VFX studio Iloura to ensure the visual effects blend seamlessly with the physical space depicted on screen.

    Production took place in and around Docklands Studios Melbourne over 21 weeks from May 2016, with a cast led by Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Liv Tyler.

    The Leftovers series 3 is due for release in 2017.

  • Docklands Studios Melbourne a leading supporter of Australia’s Creative Talent

    CEO, Rod Allan, took to the stage in Sydney recently to honour the work of creative artists in stage and screen at the annual Australian Production Design Guild Awards.

    Allan presented the Docklands Studios Melbourne Award for Production Design for a Feature Film to Jonathon Oxlade for Girl Asleep.

    The Docklands Studios Melbourne Award for Set Decoration for a Feature Film went to Lisa Thompson for The Dressmaker.

    The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, was filmed at Docklands Studios in 2014 before going on to become one of the highest-grossing Australian films of all time.

    Docklands Studios is a principal sponsor of the event, which recognises creative artists in stage and screen.

    A total of 24 awards were announced at the event at NIDA on November 7, capping off a year of great celebration for Australia’s creative talent with successes at the Oscars, BAFTAs and Emmys.


    Jonathon Oxlade (Girl Asleep) holding the Docklands Studios Melbourne Award for Production Design for a Feature Film, with Docklands CEO Rod Allan.


  • Party in the House!

    Docklands Studios Melbourne has resembled a giant house party of late during filming of the popular Big Music Quiz.

    The mad-cap musical extravaganza sees two teams of celebrities showing off their knowledge of music trivia.

    A roll call of Aussie stars, including Hollywood funny girl Rebel Wilson, Eurovision runner up Dami Im, and Olympic gold medallist Giaan Rooney were tested on their recall of well-known songs and artists.

    Along the way they burst into song and dance along with the large, exuberant studio audience, egged on by host Darren McMullen.

    The Big Music Quiz, produced by Endemol Shine Australia, screened on Channel Seven during August to October.

    The Big Music Quiz

    Photo credit: Endemol Shine Australia

  • HBO hit series comes to Docklands Studios Melbourne

    The third and final season of star-studded HBO drama series The Leftovers is getting ready to shoot at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers explores a world in shock (and the lives that are changed forever) when 140 million people inexplicably vanish. In the second series, the show expanded on the original concept of The Rapture that was explored in Perrotta’s bestselling novel of the same name, while the third series moves the action to Australia.

    Justin Theroux as Kevin and Carrie Coon as Nora in The Leftovers. © HBO.  

    Justin Theroux as Kevin and Carrie Coon as Nora in The Leftovers. © HBO.

    Set construction has begun in the studio workshop and the production has booked two sound stages on the studio lot.

    The Leftovers Season Three cast includes Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Kevin Carroll, Christopher Eccleston, Scott Glenn, Lindsay Duncan, Regina King, Jovan Adepo, Janel Moloney, Margaret Qualley, Jasmin Savoy-Brown, Liv Tyler, and Chris Zylka.

    Docklands Studios Melbourne is delighted to welcome back HBO and Warner Bros. – both of whom have used the studio before, Warner Bros. on Where the Wild Things Are, and HBO on The Pacific.

    The Leftovers is produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television; created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta; executive produced by Lindelof, Perrotta, Mimi Leder, Tom Spezialy, Gene Kelly, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey.  Lindelof serves as showrunner.


  • From the Lot:


    Docklands Studios Melbourne has been attracting plenty of traffic of late … in car commercials!

    Ford, Jeep, Mazda and Nissan have all been on the Lot in recent weeks shooting new television commercials.

    In March, Renault chose to unveil its bold new Formula One racing colours at the studio ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

    Champion drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer and Australian pro surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey at the launch of Renault's new F1 racing colours in April.   

    Champion drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer and Australian pro surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey at the launch of Renault’s new F1 racing colours in March.


    Following on from its highly successful run in Australian cinemas The Dressmaker is now cutting a swathe through cinemas and film festivals across Europe, Asia and South America. Amazon Studios will release the film in the US on 300 screens on September 23.
    Produced by Sue Maslin and written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, from a book by Australian author Rosalie Ham, and with a top-notch local and international cast led by Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth, The Dressmaker is a film made by women for women, delighting audiences at home and abroad, winning awards and critical acclaim. The Dressmaker was shot at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on location in Victoria in late 2014.

    More recently, Docklands Studios Melbourne welcomed two other feature films produced by women. Berlin Syndrome produced by Polly Staniford of Aquarius Films and directed by Cate Shortland, stars Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt, in one of the most anticipated Australian films this year.

    Teresa Palmer as Clare in Berlin Syndrome. Picture credit: Sarah Enticknap.

    Teresa Palmer as Clare in Berlin Syndrome. Picture credit: Sarah Enticknap.

    A psychological thriller about a holiday romance that takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave, Berlin Syndrome was shot on specially created sets at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on location in Germany.

    Aquarius Films’ Angie Fielder also used Docklands Studios Melbourne as its production base for Lion, the eagerly awaited debut film from Top of The Lake director Garth Davis, written by Luke Davies (Candy) and starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham.

    After a wrong train takes a five-year-old Indian boy thousands of kilometres from home and family, he survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only the scantest of clues, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth and sets out to find his lost family.

    Lion is slated for release in the US on November 25 and January 19, 2017 in Australia. Aquarius is producing in association with Academy Award-winners See-Saw Films (producers of The King’s Speech).

  • New Chair of the Board

    Economist and strategy expert David Hanna has joined the team of Docklands Studios Melbourne as the new Chair of the Board.

    Currently the Director of Business Strategy at Monash University, Mr Hanna has more than thirty years’ experience in the public sector in Victoria and Canberra. He has also lived and worked in many parts of Asia.

    He has a strong connection to film and has been a longstanding committee member for Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund – which provides government grants to attract productions to Victoria. He is also a member of the Course Advisory Committee for the VCA’s School of Film and Television.

    Prior to his Monash appointment, Mr Hanna held a variety of senior management positions in the Victorian and Australian Governments with a focus on economic development, international policy, trade and innovation.

    Docklands Studios Melbourne welcomes David Hanna to his new role and thanks outgoing Chair Elizabeth Eldridge for her tireless work and leadership over the last eight years.

    New DSM Chair, David Hanna. Photo courtsey of Monash University

    New DSM Chair, David Hanna. Photo courtsey of Monash University.

  • From Hollywood To Hanging Rock Victoria Secures HBO Hit ‘The Leftovers’

    Read More: Docklands Studios Melbourne press release 3 June 2016

  • Docklands Studios welcomes new Chair

    It has welcomed Hollywood heavyweights, dressmakers and penguin wranglers – and now economist and strategy expert David Hanna will join the team of Docklands Studios Melbourne as the new Chair of the Board.

    Announcing the appointment today, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said Mr Hanna’s high level strategic and international experience will put him in good stead to lead the next stage of growth for the publicly-owned studio facility.

    Currently the Director of Business Strategy at Monash University, Mr Hanna has more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector in Victoria and Canberra. He has also lived and worked in many parts of Asia.

    He has a strong connection to film and has been a longstanding committee member for Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund – which provides government grants to attract productions to Victoria. He is also a member of the Course Advisory Committee for the VCA’s School of Film and Television.

    Prior to his Monash appointment, Mr Hanna held a variety of senior management positions in the Victorian and Australian Governments with a focus on economic development, international policy, trade and innovation.

    Since opening in 2004, Docklands Studios Melbourne has hosted local and international productions that have brought more than $800 million into the Victorian economy.

    In recent years, its five sound stages have hosted a mix of domestic and international productions including the hit Australian film The Dressmaker, the NBC Universal mini-series Childhood’s End and the Nine Network’s Millionaire Hot Seat and The Footy Show.   

    Mr Hanna will take over the role from former senior executive Elizabeth Eldridge, who has served as Chair since the Victorian Government took ownership of the studios in 2008. Ms Eldridge steered the studios through a critical transition, helping to raise their domestic and international profile.

    The Board of Directors also includes public relations and marketing executive Ann Fletcher-Nicholls and former Melbourne Lord Mayor, and Melbourne International Film Festival Chair, Desmond Clark.

    Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said, “Productions filmed at the Docklands Studios generate jobs and skills for local screen workers and bring flow-on benefits for local businesses in construction, catering, transport and tourism.”

    “David comes to the role with a wealth of experience and a passion for film and I look forward to working with him as we take Docklands Studios Melbourne into the next era.”

    Incoming Docklands Studios Melbourne Chair David Hanna said, “I’m delighted to be taking on this role at what is an exciting time for local film and television production.”

    “Docklands Studios Melbourne is a vital part of our screen industry here in Victoria with a great team running it and a strong slate of productions in the pipeline for the year ahead.”

    Docklands Studios Melbourne thanks outgoing Chair Elizabeth Eldridge for her tireless work and leadership.

    Read More: Docklands Studios Melbourne press release 1 June 2016

    David Hanna Monash

    Photo courtesy of Monash University.



  • Docklands Studios Melbourne at the heart of what’s on in Melbourne

    DSM welcomed French car manufacturer Renault, who chose to unveil their striking new Formula One racing colours at DSM ahead of the Australian Grand Prix last weekend.

    On hand for the yellow carpet launch were champion drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, and Australian pro surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey.

    Renault_car Renault_crowd Renault_yellow_carpet

    The very next day, the champions of the AFL were on site for the launch of the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season which was broadcast on FOX FOOTY.

    But it wasn’t all sport. ABC TV’s must-see national debate program Q&A was broadcast from its newly designed set here at DSM.

    Host Tony Jones was joined by Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria; Jacqui Lambie, Independent Senator for Tasmania; Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Resources and Energy; Clementine Ford, Fairfax columnist and feminist speaker; and Elizabeth Proust, Businesswoman and Chair, Bank of Melbourne.

    QandA_panelIMG_1032 IMG_1033  QandA_preshow

  • Docklands Studios Melbourne awards ‘Best Set Trophy’ to Berlin Syndrome

    Now in its second year, the Docklands Studios Melbourne ‘Best Set Trophy’ for 2015 has been awarded to Production Designer Melinda Doring for the ‘Apartment 402’ set for Berlin Syndrome.

    The in-house award, judged by DSM staff, is given in recognition of a studio set that demonstrates innovative art direction with fine craftsmanship while overcoming any inherent complexities within the storytelling.

    Berlin Syndrome (due for release later this year) is a psychological thriller from the book of the same name by Melanie Joosten. It was filmed at Docklands Studios late last year, following a period of on-location shooting in the German capital.

    The themes of intimacy, captivity and obsession are explored when Clare, a young Australian woman holidaying in Berlin, meets handsome and charismatic local man, Andi. What begins as a holiday romance turns into a nightmare as Clare becomes a prisoner in Andi’s apartment … and he has no intention of letting her go.

    As most of the plot takes place inside ‘Apartment 402’, Melinda Doring was faced with the intricate and complex task to recreate the distinct ambience of a European apartment, matching it with the exterior shots filmed in Berlin. Everything from windows to light switches formed part of a meticulous challenge.

    The engraved trophy was presented to the film’s Art Director Janie Parker on 1 February.

    The 2014 ‘Best Set Trophy’ was awarded to Michelle McGahy for her ‘Underground Cavern’ set for The Moon and the Sun.

    BerlinSyndrome_131115_0357 Low Res

    Picture credit: Sarah Enticknap


    Picture credit: Sarah EnticknapIMG_9313


  • Docklands Studios wraps filming on three productions

    A staff writer for If Magazine recently reported that two television series – Tomorrow When the War Began and Jack Irish together with feature film, The Berlin Syndrome – have recently finished filming at the Studios and are now in post-production for release next year.

    Read More: Docklands Studios wraps filming on three productions

  • Wrap up of The Lot

    Tomorrow When the War Began has finished filming and is scheduled for ABC viewing next year. John Marsden’s popular stories of teenagers, who return from a camping trip to learn that their country has been invaded by a foreign power, will star rising talent Molly Daniels (You’re Skitting Me, The Librarians) as Ellie and Jon Prasida (Hiding) as Lee. They will be joined by Deborah Mailman, Sibylla Budd, James Stewart and Alison Bell.


    Faces to watch: the young cast of Tomorrow When the War Began

    Aquarius Film’s The Berlin Syndrome, directed by Cate Shortland and based on the novel of the same name by Australian writer Melanie Joosten, was shot at the Studios following a period on location in Berlin. A psychological thriller, The Berlin Syndrome examines the themes of obsession, captivity and truth as a young Australian photojournalist, Clare (Teresa Palmer) meets a charismatic stranger, Andi (Max Riemelt) while holidaying in Berlin. What begins as a one-night encounter turns into a nightmare as Clare gets locked in Andi’s flat and he has no intention of letting her go!

    berlin syndrome 1

    Teresa Palmer stars in The Berlin Syndrome based on the novel by Melanie Joosten

    The new six-part Jack Irish television series recently wrapped its filming at the Studios and will air on the ABC in 2016. Based on Peter Temple’s novels and following the success of three popular telemovies, Guy Pearce will again feature in the title role of the former criminal lawyer turned private investigator.

    In its new format, this next instalment of Jack Irish welcomes Claudia Karvan and Marcus Graham to the cast together with Jack Irish ‘regulars’ Marta Dusseldorp, Shane Jacobson and Aaron Pedersen.

    Jack Irish’s pub set complete with Guy Pearce at Docklands Studios

  • Shot at Docklands and ready to watch

    In a year that Screen Australia has described as record-breaking for Australian film, we’re enormously proud that two features filmed at Docklands are contributing to this success.

    Oddball, the true story of the Maremma dog who saves a penguin colony in Warrnambool, is in its 11th week in cinemas. With its family appeal and top cast including Shane Jacobson and Sarah Snook, Oddball is one of the most popular domestic films to come out in recent years and ranks in the top ten highest performing films at the Australian box office for 2015. It is even beginning to make its mark overseas and in Rome it is a big hit, sporting the name, Giotto l’amico dei Pinguini.


    The feathery, furry and star cast of Oddball

    The Dressmaker, described recently by its director Jocelyn Moorhouse as ‘a spaghetti western with a sewing machine’ opened nationally on 30 October. In its first two weeks it took close to AU$10 million before opening in UK cinemas on 20 November. The Dressmaker is leading the forthcoming AACTA awards for 2015 with recognition in all the top categories including Film, Direction, Leading Actress (Kate Winslett) and Supporting Actor and Actress (Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis). As a story that extols the power and influence of ‘haute couture’, it is no surprise that The Dressmaker has also been nominated for Best Costume Design.


    Kate Winslet as Tilly in The Dressmaker brings a sewing machine and revenge back to her small town

  • Open Channel’s Micro Movie Conference Micro budget. Big impact!

    With its permanent base at Docklands Studios, Open Channel continues to attract both emerging and experienced filmmakers to its short courses, workshops and conferences. Three hundred participants gathered here in late August to investigate all aspects of micro filmmaking as part of the Generation Next conference series.

    Open Channel Audience

    Open Channel packs out the Generation Next conference with micro budget filmmaking theme

    The principal ethos of micro filmmaking, according to conference convenor Daniel Schultheis is ‘Exploring the means to turn limited resources and levels of constraint into creative advantage.’ With the support of Film Victoria and Screen Australia and with a range of highly acclaimed Australian industry professionals leading each session and panel discussion, the Micro Movie Conference examined and explored the rising trend of microbudget filmmaking – movies made on small budgets invariably below AU$250,000.

    The international success of the first Mad Max movie (created on a very small budget) inspires the notion that imagination and resourcefulness can shape a project when less funding is available. Together with the ever increasing rise of the digital market, micro filmmaking is continuing to provide more opportunities for emerging filmmakers and creative personnel to launch their ideas and shape their projects. The Micro Movie Conference provided an invaluable forum for the sharing of information in order to achieve quality filmmaking – on a budget.

    ‘The Short & Sharp Microbudget Pitching Competition’ held on the first day gave five finalists the opportunity, in three minutes, to pitch their micro movie idea to a panel of judges. We congratulate the winner, filmmaker Steven Tandy from Melbourne whose prize includes a support package for his next feature film including script consultations with writer Stephen Cleary.

  • A mixed slate at the Studios

    Throughout 2015, a wide range of TVCs and unique events have taken place in our soundstages, guaranteeing Docklands’ reputation as a highly flexible, adaptable and multi-purpose studio environment.

    Stage 2 was transformed into an arena for an indoor match for young Melbourne footballers with a surprise visit from Real Madrid in July. Sponsored by Adidas, more than twenty members of the most famous football club in the world arrived by boat and attended a corporate function before watching and judging some young local players in what would have been, for them, the experience of a lifetime.

    Real Madrid

    Real Madrid tackles exclusively invited young fans at the Adidas-sponsored event

    A TVC entitled Astra vs Drones, was shot for Holden’s latest Astra VXR launch. Holden engaged VICE Media who built ten quad-prop drones, designed to replicate menacing insect-like predators hovering around a vehicle built to withstand anything!

    Astra vs Drones TVC: one of many high profile car brands to launch, film or burn through the Studios

    Astra vs Drones TVC: one of many high profile car brands to launch, film or burn through the Studios

    As part of the City of Melbourne’s Spring Fashion Week, the avant-garde Fred Hates Fashion team held its show here, transforming Stage 2 to accommodate a catwalk set before a large screen. Celebrating local designers and attracting a large audience, the event was lauded as a major highlight of a week devoted to Melbourne’s aspiring and established fashionistas.  

    A fashion-forward visual feast at Fred Hates Fashion event

    A fashion-forward visual feast at Fred Hates Fashion event

    With the ongoing popularity of arena-style entertainment, Docklands Studios is fast gaining a reputation as a versatile rehearsal venue. In preparation for Hugh Jackman’s Broadway to Oz national tour, the Dainty Group booked Stage 1 to rehearse the show prior to its premiere at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on 24 November.

  • Designs on The Dressmaker

    Garry Maddox for the Entertainment section of The Sydney Morning Herald alerts film and production students and professionals to an event to be held at Docklands Studios Melbourne during which designer Roger Ford, art director Lucinda Thomson and set decorator Lisa Thompson will discuss the design of director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s comic drama, The Dressmaker on November 11. To book visit: The Dressmaker ADPG Event

    Read more: Designs on The Dressmaker

  • Jocelyn Moorhouse and ‘The Dressmaker’

    Oct 10, 2015 Journalist, Steve Dow for The Saturday Paper writes a long feature on acclaimed director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s return from the US because family was more important than the Hollywood machine. And how finally The Dressmaker came to fruition and was filmed in rural Victoria and at Docklands Studios.

    Read More: Jocelyn Moorhouse and ‘The Dressmaker’

  • Docklands Delivers Mixed Slate

    Aug – Sept 2015 If Magazine covers the benefits of a Melbourne-based studio shoot at Docklands Studios, a facility that is slowly changing industry perceptions that it is only for big budget Hollywood projects. The article highlights a variety of projects shot at the Studios recently and emphasises the advantages of weather proof buildings, on-demand technical services, office space, parking, art department and storage facilities all contained on the Studio lot.

    Read More: Docklands Delivers Mixed Slate

  • Revenge is back in Fashion

    Oct – Nov 2015 If Magazine covers the evolution of The Dressmaker from page to screen with its producer, Sue Maslin and director, Jocelyn Moorhouse. In the article, Director of Photography, Don McAlpine says, “We did some of it in the studio, (Docklands Studios Melbourne) more or less at my insistence, where you are protected from the weather and you can spend more hours working instead of travelling.”

    Read More: Revenge is back in Fashion

  • Victoria’s screen sector being "Shaken, not stirred in the 2014-15"

    National Film Editor, Karl Quinn reports for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on the performance of Victoria”s screen sector being “Shaken, not stirred in the 2014-15”. He reports that Melbourne”s Docklands Studios had a “good year” and covers highlights of other Creative Victoria screen entity”s including ACMI and Film Victoria.

    Read More: Victoria”s screen sector shaken, not stirred, in 2014-15

  • The International Business Times reports on the upcoming premiere of The Dressmaker

    The International Business Times reports on the upcoming premiere of The Dressmaker shot at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on location in Victoria. Director, Jocelyn Moorhouse; producer, Sue Maslin and stars including Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving expected to attend.

    Read More: Liam Hemsworth attend Australian Premiere Dressmaker

  • Oddball doubles box office to 2 million in two days

    National Film Editor, Karl Quinn reports for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on how the makers of the recently released and hugely popular family feature film, Oddball managed to make a successful movie featuring both animals and children. The scenes of fairy penguins and children on the beach at night were shot on a coastline and beach set at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Read More: Oddball doubles box office to 2 million in two days

  • Time lapse video of the construction of Oddball set

    The Age features time lapse video of set construction at Docklands Studios Melbourne for Oddball.

    Oddball time lapse

    View video: Time lapse video

  • Shane Jacobson becomes Docklands Studio’s ambassador


    Shane Jacobson’s favourite place to work is Docklands Studios.

    “Nothing beats working in a word-class facility in my hometown. It’s a pleasure to support the Studios and share what it has to offer from firsthand experience,” Shane said.

    Shane is an actor who’s everywhere at the moment. Two feature films, Oddball and The Dressmaker (both shot in-part at Docklands) have pending cinema releases. Then there’s the mini-series Jack Irish which starts filming here in October; Foxtel’s Open Slather and let’s not forget that IGA ad!

    Shane became our ambassador after appearing on a Channel 9 news story last year which covered the Studio’s 10th Anniversary. He highlighted the Studios’ importance in the Victorian screen ecosystem, its contribution to the State economy and the joy he has experienced working on Docklands-based projects. “We’re thrilled that Shane can help us promote the Studios and give meaningful insight into what it’s like to work in our sound stages,” said Rod Allan, CEO, Docklands Studios Melbourne.

  • Shot at Docklands and ready to watch

    Childhood’s End: NBC Universal’s adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 novel; a gripping SciFi miniseries that wrapped at the Studios earlier this year, will air on US networks soon.

    Oddball: The Studio was recently home to six fairy penguins and two Maremma sheepdogs during the making of this true family story. To save his daughter’s job, an eccentric chicken farmer (Shane Jacobson) collaborates with his granddaughter (Coco Gillies) to implement a controversial idea – to use a troublemaking dog to protect an endangered penguin colony. We can’t wait to see Oddball in cinemas this September.

    The Dressmaker: The costume bays in the Studio’s workshop were a vintage fashion bounty when Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth were on the Lot. Based on Rosalie Ham’s bestselling novel, The Dressmaker is the story of femme fatale Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet) who returns to her rural hometown to right the wrongs of the past. This stylish drama, with its comic undertones about love, revenge and haute couture will be in cinemas 1 October.

  • Emerging Filmmakers Update

    A much anticipated legend shoots at Docklands 

    A trend is emerging for retelling Australian history on screen. Through our Emerging Filmmakers Program, we were delighted to encourage this trend by giving award-winning filmmaker, Matthew Holmes, the opportunity to shoot scenes for The Legend of Ben Hall here.

    Making his writing and directorial debut, Holmes and his team shot this ambitious bushranger movie in Stage 4. According to Holmes, who researched the story of Ben Hall over many years, “No other Australian outlaw story is more engaging, enthralling and unbelievable than Ben Hall. Not even the Kelly saga compares with the epic legacy of crime committed by Ben Hall and his gang.”

    Rod Allan and Matthew Holmes on set












    Spoof reality, Footballer Wants a Wife films at Docklands

    Reality television parody, Footballer Wants a Wife concerns three young football stars on their modern-day quest for love. There’s no shortage of possible fiancées for these sportsmen, with fourteen beauties who will do anything to become a WAG (Wife and Girlfriend). Footballer Wants a Wife, written by and starring Ben Nicholas, filmed here in June and will air as a web-series in September this year.

    Footballer Wants a Wife cast in Stage 1 at Docklands Studios

  • Wrap up of The Lot

    Jack Irish

    The Jack Irish mini-series is the next instalment of television dramas based on Peter Temple’s novels to be produced by Ian Collie and Andrew Knight.  Filming starts in August and we welcome an impressive cast that includes Guy Pearce and Shane Jacobson.

    Teen/young adult SciFi drama to ‘invade’ Stage 4

    The miniseries Tomorrow When the War Began, based on John Marsden’s novel, will film at the Studios throughout September and October. The story follows a small group of teenagers as they wage guerrilla warfare after the invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power.

    Neo-psych music video shot at the Studio

    Budding filmmaker Danny Cohen shot a clip for Melbourne neo-psych band,Lurch and Chief at the Studios in April. The track ‘Echo’ is currently on high rotation on Triple J. We love the behind-the-scenes video shot by Gianna Mazzeo during the fourteen hour shoot. See the ‘clip of the clip’ here:

    Read Q&A with Danny Cohen on our blog

    Car story: TV sets everywhere and 250 Mini…

    We’ve had some impressive corporate events and TVCs shoot at the Studios this year. Holden Astra vs Drones TVC and integrated campaign shot here only weeks ago and is already ‘hovering around’ on the web and TV sets. Earlier Volvo hosted a rather luxe launch of the VolvoXC90 in stage 4 and for another car company stage 1 was transformed into Melbourne’s Mini Garage and pop-up cinema. The latter incorporated 25 new Mini 5-door hatches, food vans, 250 Mini fanatics and VIPs who converged for the launch night. Check out the video and great time lapse of the stage set-up for Mini Garage.

    Luncheon Studio tours for industry professionals
    CEO Rod Allan and Marketing Manager Angela Kent have initiated an ongoing series of casual lunches and Studio tours for local producers, production managers and line producers. “We’re targeting people who might not have been to the Studios for a while. It’s a great way to showcase the facility and reflect on the diversity of projects that come through our doors. The events have been very well received and we have also enjoyed hearing about upcoming projects. Producers are encouraged to contact Rod Allan and start the conversation early about options for working at the Studios,” Angela said.Please get in touch with Angela if you’d like to come along to our next lunch and tour:

    Get in touch if you’re a screen producer and you’d like to visit for a tour

  • Music video in the Studio – interview with photographer and filmmaker, Danny Cohen for Lurch and Chief’s clip

    Danny Cohen

    In a few words what type of filmmaker are you?

    I’m actually fairly new to filmmaking. I’m trained as photographer but was always equally inspired by moving image as much as still photography. Over the past year, I’ve been offered opportunities to create music videos so I’ve attempted to bring across my style and direction to film. I like to create weird stories and scenes but execute them in a polished way. For example, my first music video was a gentleman exploring and enjoying the smells of used cars.

    How did you hear about the Studios?

    I was looking for a large contained space that would allow us to shoot long dolly shots and build large sets. My friend recommended I get in touch and I was impressed by the size of the space, the facilities and the onsite staff.

    Can you describe Lurch and Chief’s musical and visual style?

    The band’s musical style drifts from psychedelic to rock to pop. The band is full of creatives (the guitarist Alex online slots Trevisan handles all the graphic design) so we tend to collaborate and bounce ideas around quite often. The band is open to creating photos/films that are strange, psychedelic and have an underlying dark humour to them.

    Can you reveal the track or the story behind it?

    The track is called ‘Echo’, it’s currently on high rotation on Triple J. It’s their second single on their new EP ‘Breathe’. A behind the scenes of the clip can be seen here:

    What were the benefits of working in the Studio’s sound stage?

    The size, versatility, facilities and staff. I loved shooting there and will shoot there again. It was definitely a long day but I had the dream team on board so spirits were high and we got the result we were after.