El Questro Station, where ‘Wonderful Unknown’ will shoot. (Photo: Tourism Western Australia). 

Two features, Wonderful Unknown and Dirt Music, as well as a six-part drama series from Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey, are set to shoot in Western Australia, thanks to the $16 million WA Regional Film Fund.

The fund, launched by the state government last year, is designed to attract local and international productions.

““Eight months after its launch, the fund has helped secure its first Hollywood-Australian feature and UK-Australian feature as well as a major Australian television series,” said WA Culture and Arts Minister John Day.

“It is estimated they will contribute more than $14 million to the WA economy.”

Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly, Two Hands) will direct Dirt Music, the long-in-the-works adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel.

The screenplay was penned by Jack Thorne (Wonder, The Last Panthers), and the producers are Brits Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, who together produced Brooklyn, An Education and the upcoming Their Finest. Also on board as a producer is Lion‘s Angie Fielder.

Dirt Music is the story of Georgie Jutland, an unconventional woman in a conventional town, living with her widowed partner and his two small children. An encounter with enigmatic poacher Lu Fox, an outsider to the community, reignites her sense of purpose.

Dirt Music will be shot around the Mid-West and the Kimberley, including Dongara and Port Denison.

Wonderful Unknown follows Annie, an American housewife trapped in a failing marriage. Annie decides to embark on a road trip with her wild and adventurous best friend across the Australian Outback to scatter her mother’s ashes.

The film is being produced by Victorian-based James Hoppe and John Finemore, along with American Mason Novick (Juno, 500 Days of Summer). The screenplay was written by Verity Colquhuon.

Wonderful Unknown has real potential to promote WA internationally, particularly to the American market,” said Minister Day.

“The destination central to the storyline is Broome’s Staircase to the Moon phenomenon at Cable Beach but filming is set to take place in Kununurra, the El Questro Wilderness Park including Emma Gorge, and on outback routes such as the legendary Gibb River Road.

“The producers are in final talks with an A-list Hollywood star for the lead role who, together with the locations, will provide invaluable marketing opportunities.”

Also funded is a as-yet-untitled six-part drama series from producers Greer Simpkin and David Jowsey (Jasper Jones, Goldstone).  All episodes will be shot in the Kimberley cattle country.

The WA Regional Film Fund previously supported Ben Elton’s Three Summers, currently in post.

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