Regional Western Australia has doubled for the Western Front over the past couple of months in Jordon Prince-Wright’s Before Dawn, which has now wrapped.
Inspired by the real-life diary entries of local ANZACs, the feature film details the untold story of some of Australia’s greatest military victories.
The all-Australian cast includes Levi Miller, Stephen Peacocke, Travis Jeffery, Ed Oxenbould, Tim Franklin, and Myles Pollard.
Jarrad Russell makes his feature writing debut with the script, with Prince-Wright producing through his company Prince-Wright Productions.
There are also contributions from composer Sean Tinnion (The Last Horns of Africa) and cinematographer Daniel Quinn.
Production took place entirely in regional WA, with the majority of filming occurring on 83 acres of land outside of Esperance, where a large-scale set was built to replicate the trenches and battlefields of Flanders, Belgium.
Initially slated to commence in June 2020, the filmmaking team decided to delay the shoot for 12 months due to the pandemic.
Prince-Wright told IF while the extra time had allowed for more planning, he did not take anything for granted when it came to the production.
“We treated this postponement purely as extra time for pre-production and ultimately the film grew majorly in size due to the extra 12 months,” he said.
“One of our biggest challenges outside of the postponement was actually making sure we could get our actors here.
“Even though we had flights booked for them to arrive ahead of filming in case a quarantine situation was to occur, we were always on edge – myself in particular – at all times just in case something happened and we couldn’t get them here.”
With a budget expected to exceed $9 million, Before Dawn is one of the larger independent productions to be filmed in WA.
Prince-Wright said the “‘community project” had been underwritten by support from local shires, the Returned Services League, Rotary, and the local Lions clubs.
“My dad and I travelled across Western Australia, approaching various shires/local governments, asking them to get behind the project, which they did,” he said.
“Furthermore, we approached various businesses such as Caltex, BP, Ford, FLG and right down to restaurants and news agencies.”
Editing is now underway on the film, with post-production expected to take place at Backlot Perth early next year.
Prince-Wright said discussions had begun with distributors, adding he hoped to release the film toward the end of next year.
“This film has been made for the big screen, so we are aiming for a cinema release,” he said.
“We’ve already had some interest from a couple of studios so we’re hopeful a theatrical release will be realised.”